This Volunteer Appreciation Week, we celebrate the nearly 4,000 volunteers supporting Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS) in our mission to enrich the lives of older adults.
Here are some of their faces and stories of extraordinary service during the pandemic.
Thank you, PHS volunteers!
(Pictured: Resident volunteers Shirley Germann, Larry Koetz, Curt Grover, Bonnie Zeilinger, John Rooney and Marlys Rooney)
Ever since COVID, resident volunteers from Norris Square in Cottage Grove, MN, have been delivering newspapers every day on time to their neighbors and friends. Norris Square staff say, "This group of volunteers really makes a difference, and we are so lucky to have them here!"
(Pictured: Local church volunteer Jennifer Floyd and her children)
Early in the pandemic, members of Immanuel Church reached out by e-mail to The Farmstead in Andover, MN, offering to pick up and drop off groceries or things that residents may need but don't have family to help.
Volunteer Director Anna Lloyd recalled just why their help became invaluable. "Our transportation service was halted, visitors were not allowed into the building, and our residents (especially independent living residents) needed access to groceries," she said. "Jennifer Floyd and her children as well as Bonnie Hoekstra, Kelsey and Sarah Wieberdink and Penny Johnson were our angels in a time of need!"
(Pictured: Community volunteers of The Spirit Song Choir along with Mary Reimann, Choir Director, and Peg Regruth, Coordinator)
Community members of Spirit Song Choir creatively used technology to produce an old-fashioned radio show tailored to the interests of residents at Stonecrest in Woodbury, MN.
"Their show incorporates favorite sing-a-longs, performances, skits and stories," says Volunteer Director Renee Vaughn, adding, "the show was recently featured on All Things Considered by MPR!"
(Pictured: Resident and community volunteers Fran Ellis, Teresa Amerman, Jacquie Messmer-Palombo, Ruth Rosen, Carol Cheswick, Gary McPherson, Lynette Trygstad, Rich Seeger, Janie Cosgriff, Elain Silus, Laurel Jessen, Brenda Mueller and Vickie Wingert. Not pictured: Dawn Riem, Leroy Bugher and Zoe Eckblad)
"When residents were not able to get out and about, they flocked to our library," recalled Susan Wagener, Volunteer Director at Lake Minnetonka Shores in Spring Park, MN. "It was like watching a well-oiled machine having these volunteers rise to the occasion to help residents with pick up and return books while maintaining COVID safety restrictions."
(Pictured: Community volunteer Darla Bohn with husband Ron)
Darla seeks "out-of-the-box opportunities" to volunteer with Optage Hospice, says Volunteer Director Jennie Connors. Not only did Darla write cards and make phone calls to hospice patients during the pandemic, she is now helping create a Doula program (which provides non-medical companions to the dying and their loved ones). She also leads bereavement calling and helped coordinate and oversee a committee to update all Hospice policies and procedures.
(Pictured: Community volunteer Linda Baddorf at Johanna Shores chapel)
"Linda's faith and her volunteerism never left us when we were closed to the community due to COVID!" said Kara Reiser, Life Enrichment Director at Johanna Shores in Arden Hills, MN. Linda used e-mail and the in-house TV channel to share Bible studies she developed as well as hymn sings.
"Through Linda’s shared study, we continued the close-knit relationships regardless of the pandemic," Kara says. "Her approach to deliver the Bible has helped us know God even better during these trying times, and to trust Him more and grow in our faith."
There are many opportunities for individuals, families, or congregations to get involved in our ministry. For ideas and ways to volunteer, click here or email [email protected]
“We Will” is a series that spotlights inspiring examples of teamwork at PHS. With God’s blessing, We Will work together to build a better, brighter future for the older adults we serve.