Volunteering from a distance


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, volunteering at Sanford Health’s hospice care has been almost completely halted.

Senior Augustana University student Jillian Stamp is no stranger to volunteering.
She’s been working with Sanford Health’s hospice care patients at Ava’s House for almost 2 years.

“It’s truthfully one of the most rewarding and fulfilling opportunities I’ve ever had in my life. You get to, just interact with patients and their families going through the end of life process,” Stamp said.

But since COVID-19 hit KELOLAND, she hasn’t been able to help as much as usual. That was until recently, when she learned that Ava’s House was in need of volunteers to make blankets for hospice patients.

“Really we are just wanting to give something else to help comfort our patients, and tie blankets are nice and cozy. So that’s kind of where the idea came from. And also it’s really just another way to thank them for choosing Sanford hospice during this time,” Catherine Hanten said.

Catherine Hanten is the volunteer coordinator with Sanford Hospice. She says most volunteering is on hold due to the pandemic, but the tie blanket event was a way to connect volunteers and patients from a distance.

“We typically have, you know, a pretty large group of students at our monthly meetings. And so, we moved to a bigger space in the Froiland Science Center and we were able to spread everyone out and, everyone made blankets together,” Stamp said.

“They’re going through a really interesting time, along with their families. And just knowing that this blanket here can help them, just feel more comfortable and know that Sanford Hospice is there for them, I think is really helpful,” Hanten said.

Stamp, an aspiring physician, says the opportunity has showed her that there are numerous ways to care for patients.

“It truly is so meaningful to know that even if your family can’t be there at this time, there are people in the world who are thinking of you and who wants, who want you to be comfortable,” Stamp said.

To learn more about Ava’s House, click here.

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