Volunteer Stories: Ian Anderson House

Ian Anderson House – Volunteer Impact During the Pandemic

On March 13th 2020, as things were beginning to shut down during the pandemic, we made the very difficult decision, for the safety of our volunteers, to suspend our volunteer program at Ian Anderson House. Volunteers play a vital role at the hospice, so adjusting to life without them was very difficult in those first couple of months.

Our volunteer team are an outstanding group of people, and they wanted to continue to contribute to the hospice in any way they could. When asked if anyone could cook meals at home and drop them off at the hospice for our residents the response was huge, and overnight we had a meal train set up, with volunteers dropping off meals every day.

When PPE supplies were limited, we put out a call to volunteers, and within a day we had volunteers sewing and making beautiful washable gowns, bonnets, and masks for the staff to wear.

We also had a team of volunteers working in the garden all spring and summer, pruning trees and bushes so that families could access the windows of the rooms and we could offer window visits. Our volunteers then went to work coming in shifts two – three times a week weeding, planting, pruning, and keeping the gardens beautiful all summer, so that families had a beautiful place to have a visit or spend some quiet time.

When we called them to come back to work, with safety measures in place, many were thrilled to return to their role, even though it had to be different and limited.

We are truly grateful for our volunteers; our unsung heroes of the pandemic, who took on a different role this year, but continued to make a huge impact on the hospice.

(Heidi Harrigan, Volunteer and Events Coordinator, Ian Anderson House)