Our motto at Hands from Heaven is “lending a helping hand.” Now that the holiday season is coming to an end, it is important to remember that those in need are still all around us. Christmas is the season to be sharing and caring but what about the other 364 days of the year?
We believe that you can say happy holidays all year long just by lending a helping hand! When it comes to helping, Ohioans are very generous. The Adopt-a-Family program this year had filled its need for volunteers before November even ended and the LifeCare Alliance Meals on Wheels mission served an estimated 1,500 meals on Christmas day this year.
It is in that spirit that we are on our own mission this year – to make 2019 the year of giving! There are volunteer opportunities all the time that are rewarding personally and also uplift the community. So while we send out our Holiday wishes for a prosperous New Year, join us in giving back in whatever way we can at least once a month this year.
To help get you started, we’re highlighting 3 ongoing volunteer opportunities for people in need in our community throughout the year! Happy New Year everyone!
1. Get Involved at the Star House Warehouse
Some groups get together just for the holidays to put on toy drives, donation drives, and holiday meal deliveries. But what about on Dec. 27th or January 3rd when everyone has gone back to their regular lives? That’s when organizations like Star House Warehouse really shine.
This worthwhile organization takes volunteers every day, all day long. There are a few requirements for “indirect engagement” like you have to be at least 16 years old to volunteer. There is also a limit to the number of volunteers per shift to about 10 people.
For indirect volunteers for the warehouse, you will donate your time to help bring in donations coming to the warehouse. That means helping to unload cars, trucks, and vans. Located on 1220 Corrugated Way, if you have a working vehicle and a couple hours to spare, this is a great opportunity for getting involved – sign up here.
If you want to get even more involved, Star House Warehouse offers direct engagement opportunities for volunteers 18 years old and up. You have to go through orientation before you can begin and there is a limit of 6 volunteers per shift for this opportunity.
What you’ll do is serve the young denizens who make up the Star House. You can play games with them, talk with them, and generally be a pal. On top of that, they need you to help keep the building clean, the pantry stocked, and the linens washed. You can assist with the Star House Garden where they need volunteers to help grow and harvest produce. And if you fancy yourself a really good cook and you have a meal that serves 50, bring it in to the Star House a couple times a month and be a hero to young people in need!
“If you have any questions, feel free to text (preferred) or call Sarah Douglas, the Volunteer Services Director, at (614)753-5833 or e-mail email@example.com.”
2. Visit Patients in Hospice through AARP
Anyone who has ever spent any length of time in a hospital knows just how uninviting it can be. How much worse is it for those in hospice for months or even years at a time, rarely getting visitors? It’s awful. It doesn’t matter how great your family is, most loved ones can’t spend every waking moment at hospice caring for a patient. That’s where volunteer visitors come in!
Kindred Hospice partnering with AARP is looking for volunteers to be a part of their hospice care team. What you will do is visit hospice patients either at the facility or in their homes and spend quality time with them. AARP lists a few of the activities that volunteers perform for hospice patients, and they include:
- Taking certified therapy dogs to visit patients,
- Assisting with administrative tasks,
- Baking birthday cakes for patients,
- Creating & sending personalized cards to patients,
- Knitting, crocheting or sew lap blankets, shawls and other comfort items for patients,
- Sewing memory bears or pillows for bereaved families,
- Being present with a patient,
- Or providing grief and bereavement support.
Before you volunteer you are given training and orientation by the team at Kindred Hospice. They do require a background check and you have to be screened for tuberculosis for the safety of the patients – Kindred pays for it of course. If you have a background in mental health or doing arts and crafts, you are most needed! Kindred Hospice is located in Gahanna at 540 Officenter Place, #100, 43230. You can contact them by phone (open 24 hours a day) at (614) 414-0500 to learn more.
3. Provide Friendship and Compassion to Those in Guardianships
There’s hardly anything sadder than an elderly or disabled person who has no one to take care of them. It’s the downside of living a long life – everyone you know and love eventually leaves this world before you do and you’re left all alone, oftentimes in the most vulnerable state of life.
Many times what happens is a probate court will appoint a guardian from the GSB (Guardianship Service Board) when a person is unable to manage on their own and have no one else. These paid guardians handle the patient’s medical decisions, living decisions, and legal decisions. However, they are not paid to do one of the most important things for the quality of life for those in their charge – spend quality time with them.
That’s not to say that taking care of business for those who are no longer competent to do for themselves is not important. But what we know is that loneliness, isolation, and a feeling of abandonment are as detrimental to the health of special needs adults as illness or old age itself.Volunteer Visitor Connection is a program offered by the Franklin County Guardianship Service Board to provide that all important ingredient to a person who is in a guardianship arrangement. You have to be at least 18 years old to volunteer and commit to at least 2 visits per month for a year – we don’t think that’s much to ask. If you are interested, the program takes place at the Franklin County Courthouse in Columbus, Ohio (43215). Charity Eilerman is the volunteer contact and can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (614) 525-2233.