Fort Mill Times

Fort Mill Township residents helping out at Hospice

Holly Adkins, human resources coordinator for Hospice & Community Care and Don Whelchel, a volunteer from Fort Mill, chat during the organization's recent volunteer recruitment drive event.
Holly Adkins, human resources coordinator for Hospice & Community Care and Don Whelchel, a volunteer from Fort Mill, chat during the organization's recent volunteer recruitment drive event.

Hospice & Community Care launched its spring/summer volunteer recruitment drive Thursday, May 29. More than a few township residents are already on board.

Don Whelchel, a member of St. John's United Methodist Church in Fort Mill, lifts boxes and moves merchandise for many of the young women who work in the resale shop.

"I'm surrounded by them," Whelchel jokes of the mostly teenage girls who volunteer selling gently used goods donated to the shop. "I call myself the slave, and all of them the bosses."

The largest nonprofit care organization in York County, Hospice & Community Care is launching new programs as the India Hook campus expands and community support grows.

"Currently, there are 200 active volunteers out of 400," Hospice physician Sara Redmond says. "Some sit with patients who are dying; Some knit prayer shawls, or spend time with a patient's family."

Redmond says the organization is targeting the teen segment for new recruits. Among those already in the fold is Kaitlin Lieck, 17, of Tega Cay, who has served two years as a cashier at the shop.

"It is a wonderful experience and I think people would really enjoy it. It is a great feeling to give through Hospice & Community Care," Lieck says.

She was encouraged by a Hospice Volunteer Services Assistant - her mother, Dian Lieck.

"Some of the kids also play music, and help at fairs like Springfest. I had a lot of kids come out there," Dian says.

Hospice also has child bereavement in which helpers spend time with kids. Other programs include sitting with patients, working in the potting shed, or being a watchman.

There's much good to be done, according to Hospice officials, but not enough volunteers to meet all the needs. Volunteers need to be somewhat flexible.

"The problem is, while we have so many programs, most volunteers become fixed on the one they are most interested in or feel best in," says Hospice Director of Community Relations Carroll Spires.

"Everything depends on your availability as well. As a volunteer, you can always say, 'no, I can't do that today,'" says Fort Mill resident and six-year volunteer Violeta Strickland, whose mother was a patient there. "But, it's one of the best decisions (to volunteer) I've ever made."

Want to help?

Hospice is still in need of volunteers of all ages and all talents, including retired pastors.

• If you are interested in volunteering, contact Hospice & Community Care by calling 329-1500 or visiting www.hospicecommunitycare.org.

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