Volunteer appreciation
Marg Joldersma (right) was announced as the recipient of the Diane Annable Memorial Award during the ceremony, honouring the Dundas County Hospice’s volunteer of the year. Also pictured, North Dundas councillor Gary Annable, Diane’s husband. Glover photo

WILLIAMSBURG – Volunteers are a big part of keeping the Dundas County Hospice’s operation running – unfortunately, volunteer co-ordinator Tina MacQueen says that they’re still struggling to find volunteers.

“We’d like to get as many more as possible, but our target is to, at least, bring on 12 more volunteers,” she said. “To help recruit, we’ve got Facebook and other social media, we’re trying really hard on that. We also have the website but I’m also doing some more in person, right now I’m reaching out to the local community groups, starting with the church groups. However, I’m trying not to do too much too soon, reaching out to everyone I know; trying to do it slow with a few groups every week.”

Unfortunately, these spots are not as easy to fill as reaching out to high school students who need to fill up 40 hours of volunteering. To become a volunteer at the Hospice, people are required to complete training due to their delicate clientele.

“There’s a 30-hour course that visiting volunteers need to take before they can go out. Also, because of the sensitive nature of our clients, there’s a lot of confidentiality, checks, all those types of things, it’s not as easy as just signing up to volunteer and starting to work.”

With the Dundas County Hospice currently having over 50 volunteers giving their time to clients, they wanted to show their appreciation with a celebration on Thurs., April 11 at the JW Macintosh Senior Centre. There were approximately 20 hospice volunteers in attendance; and, North and South Dundas mayors Tony Fraser and Steven Byvelds and federal SDSG Conservative candidate Eric Duncan were also present and gave speeches. 

“I appreciate a chance to talk about volunteering,” said Duncan. “Volunteering has plenty of benefits, I think we all know that, but I think, particularly for young people, I try to use myself as an example. The message I like to give to young people about volunteering is that you can’t learn how to run a meeting, deal with people or any kind of situation in a textbook or sitting in a classroom. You have to get that hands-on experience and that life experience because that’ll make such a huge difference.”

Fraser, who has worked as a volunteer in the past, most notably as a firefighter, wanted to give thanks to the Hospice for their volunteer dedication, having experienced it first-hand mentioning that his mother was a client at the hospice. He went on to exalt the incredible compassion of all the hospice volunteers. 

Byvelds, adding onto Fraser’s appraisal of the volunteers, celebrated what the volunteers accomplish and all of their other efforts that keep going on.

“You do it for nothing, you just do it because you feel it’s the right thing to do and we, as a society, could not survive without your efforts and all of the other efforts that are going on,” he said.

Anyone looking to volunteer at the Dundas County Hospice can contact Tina MacQueen or visit their website for more information.