Volunteers needed to be visitors

Sue Guinn Legg • Nov 15, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Jennifer Farnor, volunteer coordinator for Caris Healthcare in Johnson City, is searching for volunteers across the Tri-Cities area willing to invest a small amount of time and compassion in the lives of patients in their communities who are living out their final months alone.

“We have over 150 terminal hospice patients with six months or less to live. Some are older. Some are young. Some have a great family and church support system and some have no one. We have veterans who have no one left to even drop by and visit them,” she said. For about half of those patients, Caris staff members and volunteers are the only people they see all week.

“When I go in, I always ask them what three things can I do for you. Some ask for small things like a milkshake, or ‘open the shades so that I can feel the sun on my face.’ But 90 percent will say, ‘just drop by and say hi.’ Ninety percent of the time, that’s all they ask for.”

Farnor’s is seeking volunteers who have the time to give to consider those patients’ and what a difference they could make in their lives by simply being a friend, by stopping by to visit for a few minutes each week, by sharing an ice cream or dropping off a card or a comforting gift.

“Even if I only get one volunteer, they will make all the difference in the world because the volunteers we have are spread so thin,” she said.

She asked anyone who may be able to help to call her at 929-2044 or email jfarnor@carishealthcare.com.

WCQR Radio listeners came through with flying colors in last Thursday’s Project Thanksgiving radiothon and online drive that wrapped up the station’s monthlong campaign to provide holiday food boxes and turkeys to 5,000 Northeast Tennessee families in need.

Now in its fourth year, the project raised $125,000 in $25 individual sponsorships to help families who depend on community food pantries assisted by Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee. Each of those $25 donations allowed the food bank to provide the makings of a traditional Thanksgiving meal to a family in need.

Rhonda Chafin, Second Harvest’s executive director, and Mike Perry, WCQR’s general manager, both gave thanks for the generosity of the station’s listeners.

The boxes are being distributed at pantries and ministries across the region. People in need of a food box are invited to call the food bank at 477-4053 for a referral to agency in their area.

One day out from the start of its Thanksgiving food distribution to 1,000 area homes in need of assistance, Good Samaritan Ministries is still working to meet its goal to provide 800 turkeys and food boxes for families and 200 prepared Thanksgiving meals to seniors and disabled adults who are shut in and unable to cook.

Good Samaritan volunteers have been packing food boxes day and night throughout the week and will begin distributing the boxes on Friday. The distribution will continue on Monday and Tuesday, and on Wednesday the prepared meals will be delivered. While the ministry will receive a share of WCQR’s Project Thanksgiving food boxes, to meet the total cost of its holiday distribution Good Samaritan is still working to raise $14,000, or 400 $35 individual sponsorships.

For those who wish to help, donations earmarked for Thanksgiving food may be made online at www.goodsamjc.org or by mail to Good Samaritan Ministries, P.O. Box 244, Johnson City, TN 37605.

On Friday and Saturday, Kroger, North Roan Street, and Walmart, Browns Mill Road, will host a food drive to help Good Samaritan meet its Thanksgiving goal and to provide food for the ministry’s pantry that serves people throughout the year. Volunteers will be at the stores’ entrances to provide shoppers with a list of the most-needed items and to accept any donations.

For more information about how to help with Good Samaritan’s Thanksgiving food drive, call 928-1958.

Recommended for You

    Johnson City Press Videos