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SVMHS Marks National Volunteer Week Celebrates Volunteers with Drive Though Event

SVMHS Marks National Volunteer Week Celebrates Volunteers with Drive Though Event

Story Opportunity: After a year of being sidelined because of COVID-19 safety protocols, SVMHS welcomes back volunteers in key roles and celebrates National Volunteer Week with a socially distanced, special drive through recognition event

Event details: Starts at 4pm today, Wednesday at hospital, Service League Board members and SVMHS staff will gather with balloons and posters to greet volunteers as they pick up appreciation goodie bags during a drive through event. I can arrange interviews with Volunteer Services Director as well as volunteers who have been serving during the pandemic and those eager to return.

Key Facts: SVMHS Volunteer service league started in 1952, even before the hospital opened its doors in 1953. Prior to COVID-19, an average of 500 volunteers a year provide about 25,000 - 30,000 hours of service to support the patient experience. During COVID-19, while they were not visible in the hospital setting, volunteers still contributed about 14,000 hours doing such tasks as installing LIFELINE service equipment in patient homes, knitting caps for newborns and offering Telecare which involves checking in on patients who request daily phone calls – an especially important role during isolation and COVID-19 stay at home orders.

If interested, please text Karina at 831-594-7723, with name, outlet, needs and deadline. Official release below:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Karina Rusk 831-759-1825

SALINAS, CA, April 21, 2021 – Volunteers have made significant contributions to Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System since before the hospital even opened its doors in 1953. After a year of COVID-19 restrictions and safety precautions that kept dedicated volunteers out of the hospital environment, SVMHS is using National Volunteer Week to celebrate and welcome back volunteers in key roles as the hospital finalizes plans to safely provide ways for volunteers to once again serve patients, families and community.

Before COVID-19 significantly impacted hospital operations in March of 2020, SVMHS relied on approximately 500 volunteers of all ages and diverse backgrounds with one thing in common, a desire to help others. Volunteers give approximately 25,000 - 30,000 hours of their time every year to carry out the mission of the healthcare system, support exceptional patient care and provide for an outstanding overall patient experience.

“Our volunteers are at the heart of our organization,” said Pete Delgado, Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System president/CEO. “We needed to take significant steps to keep them, our staff and patients safe this past year however we have missed our volunteers tremendously and can’t wait to bring them back safely into the many roles they serve.”

The Service League Volunteer organization was founded in 1952 at Salinas Valley Memorial. As the program grew, a department of Volunteer Services was developed in 1957. During the pandemic, some valued volunteers have been able to safely serve the community through programs such as LIFELINE, offering 24-hour personal emergency response units in patient homes and Telecare, a daily friendly visitor call. Volunteer Lifeline installers and Telecare callers have kept these important programs viable during the pandemic.

“It’s truly amazing how much commitment our volunteers showed during this past year,” says Shannon Graham, Director of Volunteer services at SVMHS. “From knitting baby hats to installing Lifeline units and making daily Telecare calls, to supporting patient services with efforts from home, volunteers have remained an integral part of our operations. National Volunteer Week is an opportunity to remind them how much they are needed and appreciated and we are so excited to begin welcoming them back to the hospital.”

Salinas Valley Memorial will celebrate its volunteers at a drive-through event on Wednesday, April 21. Between 4-5:0 pm, volunteers will drive through the Romie Lane entrance and pause briefly in front of the Service League Rose Garden/Commemorative Statue to pick up a goodie bag. Members of the SVMHS executive team, SVMHS staff and Service League Board will be holding handmade posters to show appreciation to those volunteers able to attend the event.

For decades SVMHS hospital volunteers have provided support services for many programs and activities, which include Information Services, LIFELINE, Telecare, Hospital Tours, Museum of Medical History Tours, Career Pathway Program for student volunteers, Pet Therapy, Patient Ambassadors, Mended Hearts Visitors, Emergency Department Care Partners, Spiritual Care Volunteers, No One Dies Alone, and the Gift Shop. In addition, the Volunteer Services Department supports health career education through programs such as Medical Adventure Camp and Summer Health Institute, as well as an ongoing partnership with local Regional Occupational Programs. Many of the services SVMHS provides would not be possible without the volunteers who commit their time to helping others.

Anyone wanting to learn more about volunteer opportunities at SVMHS can visit svmh.com/volunteers or call 831-755-0772.

Editor Note: Photo Attached: Longtime SVMHS volunteer Loyann Stoneburg holds up cookies she decorated to help celebrate National Volunteer Week.