|It's Thursday and Margaret St. Amour is thinking about the next day's lunch. That’s her day to volunteer at Hospice House in Cheboygan, and she always goes with something delicious that she’s cooked up for both staff and patients.|
Margaret has been doing this for several years as part of her weekly volunteer effort for Hospice House. She reports at 9:30am on Fridays where she helps with morning routines, visits patients, then prepares and serves lunch.
When Hospice House is at maximum patient capacity (which is a frequent situation), Margaret takes on laundry or whatever is needed. "A full house means they need another pair of hands," said Margaret. "There are lots of things I can do besides kitchen work."
Margaret and her husband, Paul, became acquainted with hospice when Margaret's mother became terminally ill in 1998. Hospice helped them care for her at home and, when the time came, Hospice House was available to continue that care.
"They were wonderful," said Margaret. "They took such good care of us. I had no medical training, but they helped me learn. I just don’t know what we would have done without them."
Looking back, Margaret says she needed to "give back" to those who had helped her. Later that same year, she took hospice training, and by January of 1999 had found her niche at Hospice House.
Margaret's Fridays add up to about 4 hours a week. She cooks, bakes and makes soup faithfully. Her husband, Paul, is 200% supportive of her outreach.
Even several years later, motivation is easy for Margaret. "I love it," she offered. "If I'm feeling sorry for myself, I go to the House and visit a few patients. I always come out knowing that I have no reason to complain."
"I can't imagine not being involved at Hospice House. All those people - I get back more than I give. I feel very needed and valued. It's more rewarding than I can tell."