Pantry to Porch Program Highlight for National Volunteer Week
National Volunteer Week is April 18 – 24, a time to celebrate and thank our wonderful Gilchrist volunteers.
This past year has been like no other in our lifetime. But despite the stress and hardship the pandemic has created, Gilchrist volunteers have continued to shine and bring joy and comfort to the families we serve.
It’s now been over a year since volunteers have been able to sit bedside with patients or interact with families. Knowing how much our families rely on the extra support of volunteers, we found new ways our volunteers could help during this crisis.
We are so grateful to our volunteers who have stepped up to the challenge and tried new ways to connect with families. Many of our volunteers make regular phone calls to patients and caregivers who are experiencing isolation and loneliness. Volunteers also facilitate virtual support groups and continue to sew masks (about 5,000 masks to date!).
One of the most impactful new programs supports vulnerable families experiencing food insecurity. In September 2020, Gilchrist started Pantry to Porch, which matches volunteers with our Elder Medical Care patients to offer regular wellness checks and deliver food boxes from area food banks.
The Pantry to Porch program has blossomed into something really special. Instead of being perfunctory, our volunteers are connecting emotionally with their patients and are genuinely committed to their well-being. In addition to bringing them food, volunteers call regularly and offer a friendly ear. We’re hearing great things from both volunteers and patients, many of whom have few other friendly interactions.
While the pandemic continues to throw us curveballs, and a lot of uncertainty remains, it has also forced us to think outside the box and find new ways to serve. Right now, the Pantry to Porch program supports about 25 Elder Medical Care patients, and we hope to expand this program across all of Gilchrist to help meet the needs of our hospice patients who are food insecure.
The dedication of our volunteers continues to amaze us. It’s truly an honor to work with them, and we are grateful for their service.