by Rachelle Wheatley
April is National Volunteer Month and it’s the perfect time to recognize, appreciate and celebrate the gifts of time and talent our dedicated volunteer force provides in service of Hospice of the Foothills’ patients and their families. Volunteers have always been the backbone of Hospice of the Foothills. In fact, we were founded in 1979 as an all volunteer organization spearheaded by Marianne Murphy and Frances Francis. Now, 36 years later, volunteers are still a vital part of our operation. As a Medicare-approved hospice, it is federally mandated that at least five percent of all patient care hours be provided by trained volunteers. Hospice of the Foothills, quite literally, cannot provide the programs and services we do without the support of our volunteer community.
At Hospice of the Foothills, the reach of our volunteer force is much broader than patient care. Friends of Hospice is a volunteer fundraising auxiliary that has been supporting our organization for 34 years. Since 1981, they have raised over 2 million dollars and were pivotal to the success of the capital campaign to build the Compassionate Care Home, a 12-bed hospice in-patient care facility – one of only 12 such facilities in the state. In 2014, Friends of Hospice volunteers raised well over $150,000 to help support Hospice programs and services. The members work year round to support the signature events Friends of Hospice is known for such as Butterfly Gardens, Breakfast in the Park and Tree of Love. Additionally, they are always on the lookout for new and effective ways to raise funds.
Special recognition must also be given to the volunteers that work in our three Hospice Gift & Thrift stores. The stores are primarily staffed with volunteers who come from all walks of life. Since the Gift & Thrift stores provide the largest annual contribution to Hospice of the Foothills, the volunteers that sort, price, stock and help customers are indispensible in providing that contribution margin.
Lastly, we must salute the large volunteer base that supports Hospice of the Foothills’ core programs and services. Every day, we benefit from the compassion, experience and support of outstanding clerical, spiritual care, bereavement, and patient care volunteers. Our patient care volunteers are an important component of the hospice care team and truly make a difference in the lives of our patients and their families. There is another group of individuals who choose to share their professional expertise, by serving in advisory capacities, as members of the Board of Directors, Board of Trustees and on other committees.
Regardless of their area of contribution, each and every volunteer is a valued and essential part of the Hospice of the Foothills family. Join us in extending our thanks and celebrating the more than 400 volunteers that support Hospice of the Foothills as well as many all of our community’s churches, schools, and non-profit organizations.
If you have questions, would like more information about volunteering at Hospice of the Foothills, or would like to make an online donation, visit our website www. hofo.org or call 530-272-5739.