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Volunteering can be rewarding

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For Mary Bachran, it's her spot of joy. For Darla Volgamore, it's a place of warmth where she feels she's part of something amazing -- and both women agree that the rewards are plentiful as HopeWest volunteers.

Bachran began to devote her time to the organization after her husband, Ray Taylor, was cared for by HopeWest. One project in particular spoke to her. After the death of Taylor, Bachran received a memory bear sewn lovingly by a HopeWest volunteer from a garment of Taylor's clothing.

"I knew that I could give this gift to families. I knew I could help," said Bachran. "It's with great care that she sews each bear, crafting them with individual details to reflect the passed family member. "It's important to me to make each bear special for the families," she said.

"I received a note from two kids who had lost their brother. They sent a photo of the two of them holding their bear," she said. "It's really sweet and makes you feel so good."

It doesn't stop there for Bachran. She also spends time volunteering as a patient and family support volunteer providing companionship to HopeWest patients and allowing caregivers the opportunity to run a quick errand or just to take a break. "It's such an honor to hear the stories of those I've been with -- it's been a growing experience for me. Volunteering for me is life affirming and my spot of joy," said Bachran.

Volunteer opportunities at HopeWest are as unique as those giving their time ­-- from patient and family support and creating memory bears to baking cakes and working at the retail store Heirlooms for Hospice.

"If you have a desire to give back to our community, we have a place for you," said Felicia Sabartinelli, HopeWest volunteer coordinator. "Our work and our impact on this community are only possible because of generous hearts like Mary and Darla. And we are always looking for new people to grow our volunteer family."

Volgamore has personally recruited friends to join the HopeWest team. In fact, that's how she found out about the opportunity. "I have two friends that work at HopeWest and they got me involved," Volgamore explains.

Her specialty is bringing sweetness to others. "I bake cakes for patients on their birthdays and the best part is when I hear, 'that's the best cake I've ever had' -- it really just warms my heart."

Volgamore also spends time helping with data entry at the HopeWest office and also sorting donations at the Heirlooms store. "The most rewarding part is really working with the HopeWest staff and seeing the good work that they do in our community," said Volgamore.

You, too, can experience the rewards, joy and warmth that volunteering brings. Learn more about volunteering with HopeWest by calling 874-6823 or visit hopewestco.org.

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