Every year we have the opportunity to recognize an individual and a group/family volunteer of the year. This year, despite the crazy pandemic year, our volunteers adapted and helped in different ways. We are incredibly honored and grateful to introduce you to our 2021 volunteers of the year!
Our volunteer program had to pivot substantially in 2020. Before the pandemic, we welcomed volunteers into the Family House on a daily basis, but during the pandemic we shifted to creating opportunities that volunteers could do from home or outside.
We called for volunteers to make handmade masks and drop off food for our guests, and Yvonne answered that call!
Knowing the importance of masks, and wanting to ensure that our guests had extra masks on hand while they went to and from the hospitals, Yvonne sewed and donated over 140 quality handmade reusable masks for Family House guests during 2020. She used the best materials and followed the safest patterns, and she put valuable time and energy into each mask.
The masks not only served the practical purpose of keeping guests healthy and safe. The handmade masks were also a symbol of care and support from our community.
At the end of 2020, we called for volunteers to drop off food for potlucks and to serve as Dinner Hosts to help put dinners into to-go containers that our guests could take with them to their rooms. Yvonne answered the call again. She came to the Family House almost every Monday in November and December to lead this effort.
This is not an easy task! Meal volunteers drop off enough food to feed 35-40 people, and Dinner Hosts organize these dinners so the meals are ready for our guests to pick up in the kitchen. Our guests say time and again that these meals mean more than they can describe. Dinners give guests one less thing to think about, one less expense to cover, and peace of mind so they can focus on caring for their loved ones. During the pandemic, these dinners also help our guests stay healthy by not having to take the risks of going to restaurants and grocery stores. With minimal volunteers inside the house, our staff members have been stretched thin during busy times of the day. Yvonne’s regular help as a Dinner Host has been incredibly helpful for our staff members, allowing our staff members to focus their attention on the Welcome Desk.
Yvonne has a beautiful way of engaging guests. She listens to their stories and encourages them, and she reminds them that community members like her are cheering them on. Volunteers like Yvonne are helping to keep our guests safe and healthy, and she is reminding them that they are loved. During 2020, Yvonne volunteered 73 hours with us! We are incredibly grateful for her dedication and support. She’s amazing!
Debbie and Cliff Northrop
Debbie and Cliff pivoted during the pandemic year as well, focusing on projects that they could do outside, helping with maintenance tasks and beautifying our grounds.
The Family House sits on 8.8 acres, and our grounds provide a very lovely, restful setting for our guests. Throughout 2020, Debbie faithfully weeded and gardened around the Family House and parking lot—no easy task on large grounds like ours. Debbie also maintained our large front planters on either side of our front doors. Thanks to Debbie, these planters have become beautiful features that greet guests upon their arrival. As seasons changed, Debbie changed the plants and added wonderful touches like handmade birdhouses and welcome signs. We constantly get comments on how beautiful they are.
Meanwhile, Cliff rolled up his sleeves to help with maintenance efforts. During the summer of 2020, Cliff carefully cleaned PTAC filters using a special stand that he created on our patio. With 45 guest rooms at the Family House, this is quite a project. Cliff also sanded, painted, and updated our outside picnic tables. Thanks to Cliff, our guests can breathe healthy air inside and also enjoy have a place to enjoy fresh air outside as they sit at beautiful, well-maintained picnic tables.
At the Family House, we want guests to know that they’re loved and cared for, and one way to do this is make out facility and our grounds a welcoming, beautiful setting. Nice picnic tables, grounds that are well cared for, and extra touches remind our guests that they deserve the best. Debbie and Cliff Northrop go “above and beyond” as they keep our building and grounds well maintained. Amazingly, they served a combined 147 volunteer hours with us in 2020! We are incredibly grateful for the dedication and support!