Community crafters have gone above and beyond for Heartland Hospice serving Greater Reading patients. Artists, members of the business community, retirees, Boy Scouts and many others channeled their creativity and made nearly 300 decorations for our hospice patients who live in skilled nursing facilities. Lori Gourama, volunteer coordinator, details the support Heartland received from the Greater Reading community:
“Our goal was to deliver holiday decorations to each of our patients who live in skilled nursing facilities. Volunteers were recruited by adding a request in the United Way’s Volunteer 2020 Holiday Guide. Almost immediately, people started responding. Over and over again we heard that people are feeling helpless during this pandemic, so we were excited to find a way to reach out and help those who are being greatly impacted by the isolation of COVID-19. Most people are aware that residents of nursing facilities have been prevented from having visitors. Family, friends and volunteers have not been allowed into assisted and skilled nursing facilities. In many cases, the residents have been confined to their rooms and unable to participate in normal social activities. Creating holiday crafts was one way our team and the community could reach out and let the residents know that they are in the hearts and minds of our community. One volunteer crafter even motivated her Cub Scout troop to make decorations so they could learn the importance of helping others.
Hospice programs throughout the country rely on highly trained volunteers to offer support and companionship to patients at the end-of-life and respite to the patients’ families. However, during the pandemic, volunteers have needed to reach out virtually. Heartland’s volunteers having been busy making phone calls when possible and writing notes and letters to patients for the past several months. “This craft project allowed us to open our program to additional volunteers and provide some holiday cheer to our patients and other residents of local facilities. The creativity and generosity of these crafters also lifted the spirits of our staff. This was a beautiful way to spread cheer this pandemic holiday season. We greatly appreciate the help from our volunteers and the community!”