Volunteers - St. Joseph Hospital’s Most Passionate Supporters
Lucille Lockwood has been volunteering at St. Joseph Hospital for more than 10 years. When the pandemic hit, she didn’t want to stop doing so, but knew she had no choice. “The state had put a safer-at-home advisory in place,” Lucille says. Now more than a year later, she has been fully vaccinated and literally counts the days to when she will return to her post as a patient escort. “I’ve deeply missed helping patients and being part of a close-knit, caring community,” Lucille shares.
In early 2020, St. Joe’s volunteer program boasted more than 250 members. The majority of its volunteers were retirees – and at least 60 years old. During a typical year, volunteers donate nearly 25,000 hours of service to the hospital.
“The pandemic changed everything about our volunteer program,” says Michele Canto, Certified Administrator of Volunteer Services (CAVS) and Manager of Volunteer Services at St. Joseph Hospital. “It presented challenges and opportunities. Not only were volunteers unable to report to work, during that time processes changed, roles were put on hold or became virtual, paperwork became electronic and more.”
By late 2020, volunteers slowly began returning. In fact, St. Joe’s was proud to be one of the first New Hampshire hospitals to welcome them back. Currently, only 40 volunteers donate their time and talents. However, the return of volunteers, who are experts in spreading joy and happiness, was a delight for the entire community.
“We were elated to have our most passionate supporters return to St. Joe’s, while adhering to proper protocols, for two important reasons. Given the circumstances, we needed volunteers to contribute in new and different ways to support our staff. As importantly, we were concerned about the well-being of many volunteers – as they live alone and heavily rely on their St. Joe’s family for social connection,” Canto says.
Today, volunteers are working throughout the hospital in the Breast Care Center, Cancer and Infusion Care Center and Diagnostic Imaging Services as well as in the Gift Shop and Grey Nuns Thrift Shop.
“St. Joe’s volunteer program is an incredibly important part of our mission. Like Lucille, our volunteers contribute their time because they’re inspired by our mission to provide care and compassion for the whole person in service to all in our communities,” Canto shares. “They chose to return, to be here, they want to give back even under sometimes challenging circumstances.”
For more information about volunteering at the hospital, please visit stjosephhospital.com.
St. Joseph Hospital is a member of Covenant Health.