Volunteer Opportunities In Southernmost Illinois: New Volunteers Needed!

Volunteering to serve those in need can be a satisfying, enriching, and rewarding experience for those who take the time to try it out. But there can actually be health benefits too. Those who volunteer their time report feeling less stress and anxiety. In addition, volunteering can boost self-confidence, help battle depression, and even provide a deep sense of understanding for those less fortunate than ourselves. And Southernmost Illinois needs more volunteers.

Especially Hospice of Southern Illinois.

Not everyone jumps at the opportunity, of course. Donna Cunetto says, “They’re a little afraid of it (because of that perception). It’s not doom and gloom. It’s very fulfilling.”

Rita Spiller, a volunteer services supervisor, said, “We are always in need of volunteers. We never have too many. Volunteers are the only way we provide services for our patients. Volunteers are very, very important at Hospice of Southern Illinois.”

And it’s not just about working with patients. There are plenty of things volunteers can help out with, including clerical duties like data entry, education, fundraising campaigns, spiritual support, patient support, and bereavement services. The organization is committed to finding the right fit for anyone who can provide a chunk of their time — so long as they’re willing to give it.

Companion care simply means offering support in the form of a patient visit. Not everyone has a big family for support, and some have a lot of free time. You might be asked to read to a particular patient or play games or even just listen to their stories — in addition to telling a few of your own.

Cunetto says, “There’s so many different things people can volunteer to do.”

Hospice of Southern Illinois works with around 100 patients at a time throughout 17 counties. How many volunteers are there for those 100 patients? Only about 40. Saline and Jackson counties require the most support right now according to Cunetto. “We try to match volunteers and patients according to the area,” she said. “We try to stay within 15 miles of the volunteer’s home.”

Volunteering for Hospice care might not be as big of a time commitment as you think, either: First, you’ll need to enroll in and complete an 8-hour training course. But after that, all you need to do is volunteer for another 8 hours of service annually. That’s just a day of work! Currently, Hospice offers training courses every other month out of its office in Marion.

Spiller said, “It’s a very rewarding opportunity. Most people would think the patient is really receiving gifts from the volunteer, but we come away getting more than the patient. It’s a very special opportunity we have.”
To request additional information on Hospice opportunities near you, call 618-997-3030 or email respiller@hospice.org or dcunetto@hospice.org.

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