Saturday, April 4, 2020

VNA & Hospice celebrates National Volunteer Week with thanks to selfless folks who help others in need

Volunteers do not earn a paycheck, but their rewards cannot be measured.

Salinas, CA, April 04, 2020 - Volunteers do not earn a paycheck, but their rewards cannot be measured. At VNA, volunteers make it possible to help the nonprofit achieve its ultimate goal — to provide care in an ethical, effective, compassionate and fiscally responsible manner.

With National Volunteer Week (April 19-25) approaching, VNA honors its compassionate crew of hardworking folks who give their time and boundless energy to the cause.

VNA volunteers spend every minute building the foundation of someone else’s life, which offers them deep rewards.

Hospice volunteer Jake Ragsdale believes helping people directly is the most fulfilling thing he can do, and he is deeply committed to serving others.

“Often, the patients we visit are lonely and don't have family in the area, or any immediate family at all,” said Ragsdale. “Spending time with them makes them feel valued and brings them joy and purpose. Spending an hour or two with a hospice patient once per week can make their day, if not their entire week.”

Ragsdale’s payback? “It's always rewarding to show up to visit a patient and be greeted with a big smile and excitement,” he said.

Ragsdale was drawn to hospice by his mother Gail, a nurse for 44 years.

“No one should have to be alone or feel lonely during the final stage of their life,” he said. “I love hearing about the past experiences of the patients I visit, especially the veterans. Through providing emotional support, compassion, and friendship we are able to improve the quality of life for others. This is a special gift and it is deeply fulfilling.”

Fellow VNA volunteer Susan Eastman will turn 70 next month, yet the former nurse and U.S. Navy veteran never thought of retirement as an opportunity to slow down.

“Volunteering fulfills my need to be needed,” she said. “After I retired, I had spare time and wanted to fill that void. I feel my clients appreciate the effort hospice extends to them. I am glad to be a part of that.”

The most rewarding part of Eastman’s VNA experience as a patient volunteer is having made a new friend in one of the patients she visits.

“Both she and her daughter have been extremely kind and inclusive, to the point I feel like a part of their family,” Eastman said. “I never would have met them had it not been for my VNA Hospice experience.”

Another patient, a woman in a nursing home, usually doesn't remember Eastman week to week. “But I bring her a coffee from Burger King, and then she is glad to see me,” she said.

Volunteer opportunities

From the initial phone call and in person interview, VNA works with prospective volunteers to find the right fit. VNA provides an orientation and team training, where volunteers can learn more about hospice, the interdisciplinary team, and how to work with patients.

Those seeking rewarding volunteer opportunities with VNA should reach out to Volunteer Coordinator Quinn Junghans at (831) 751-5500, or email

VNA offers prospective volunteers varied options: Visiting Volunteer (direct, nonmedical support services to palliative and hospice patients and their families); Office Volunteer (skills and abilities that can be utilized in an office setting); Veteran Volunteer (connecting veteran volunteers within the community with veterans who are currently on hospice); Pet Therapy Volunteer (providing companionship and enhancing quality of life for hospice patients through visits with certified pets); and Therapy Volunteer (services and support from licensed beauticians, massage therapists and/or music therapists).

For more information about VNA, visit

Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455

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