Teen volunteer creating chalk art

As a not-for-profit organization, volunteers play a key role in helping Empath Health provide services to the community.

Last year, volunteers contributed more than 195,000 hours of service. These selfless contributions include thousands of patient visits, phone calls, fundraising, deliveries, administrative support, welcoming guests and countless other activities both with patients and behind the scenes.

In these unprecedented times, many volunteers have had to press pause on their normal activities. Some, however, are finding new ways to stay involved.

  • Volunteers with sewing skills have donated hundreds of fabric face masks for Empath Health staff members.
  • Other volunteers are continuing to provide companionship and care to patients they have connected with. Some are making daily phone calls while others deliver groceries or take short walks, outside allowing them to stay six feet apart.
  • Transitions volunteers are specially trained to sit with and offer comfort to dying patients. After receiving a request from a patient in a facility that had not been allowing visitors, one such volunteer made the visit without hesitation.
  • Special occasions are not going unrecognized either. A volunteer made a special point to drop off a patient’s favorite carrot cake and card to celebrate their birthday even though they could not visit.
  • Volunteers have been honoring care center staff by bringing food for them to enjoy on their meal breaks.
  • Teen volunteers have taken to spreading cheer in the community by leaving messages of love, strength and hope through creative artwork.

Volunteer Barb Ness grocery shops for a patient

Though in-person volunteer support sessions have been cancelled, Zoom meetings are helping them stay connected with each other and their coordinators. Weekly topics have included laughter yoga, guided meditation and trivia as well as training opportunities on subjects like managing social isolation and collecting the stories of military veterans. Volunteers have also been sharing happiness through photos of pets, sunsets, culinary creations and even selfies to show off their smiling faces.

Until volunteers can be safely welcomed back into their roles, finding ways to support each other from a distance is keeping connections strong.