Angela Hospice nurse making a difference throughout the world

One of our amazing home care nurses, Rachel Nelson, is collecting gently used sneakers and athletic shoes to help out orphans and families in developing nations. You can help her toward her goal of gathering 2,500 pairs of shoes!

Just drop off your gently worn athletic shoes to Angela Hospice between now and the end of July. Both child and adult sizes will be collected.

The shoes will be sold to Sneakers4Funds, a group that ships shoes to micro-entrepreneurs in developing nations so that they can run a small business and support their families. Proceeds from the sale to Sneakers4Funds will be contributed to America World Adoption, serving the basic needs of orphaned children in nine countries around the world.

“I’ve always had a heart for orphans,” Rachel said. “And, I like how this will give others the chance to rise up out of poverty.”

Rachel knows it’s usually businesses or organizations that attempt to hold shoe-drives with a goal as large as 2,500 pairs, but she was just moved to help. So she decided to try it herself.

If you’d like to help Rachel meet her goal, and make a difference for children around the world, you can bring shoes to Angela Hospice’s Care Center anytime during business hours: Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Saturday – Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

From Rachel and all of us at Angela Hospice – thank you!

Employee Spotlight: Dawn Foster

Name: Dawn Foster, Housekeeping/Laundry Supervisor

How long have you worked here?
Six years.

What made you decide to work here?
I heard about this place working in this field – I work in health care, it’s the only thing I’ve ever done – and we had patients that were enrolled in Angela Hospice so I would have interactions with the social workers and the nurses that came to our facility. They were always so cheerful and delightful. I found out it was Angela Hospice so that always stayed in my mind.

I stayed at that job for 10 years and they outsourced my position so I needed to find another job. The first place I thought of was Angela Hospice, and the timing of it was crazy because at that time I didn’t know that they were building a new Care Center. …I had known that they didn’t have a housekeeping and laundry supervisor. I went on the website and sure enough there was a posting.

What’s a typical day like for you?
A typical day here is busy. (laughs) Of course, a lot of walking, constant interaction with employees. We clean after the employees as well as the patients and their families. Just overall to have the place look and meet and match our reputation. We do get a lot of compliments when people walk in – they’re blown away by how well-maintained it is.

We do a lot of dusting, finger-prints…you wouldn’t even imagine. Every day for me I cover just about every square inch of the building, from 6 o’clock in the morning until 2:30 p.m. I’m upstairs first, then downstairs, just everywhere. It’s crazy but I love it.

Dawn with Angela Hospice Building Services
Supervisor Rory Moning.
What is your favorite part about working at Angela Hospice?
I just feel like when I pull in the parking lot I get a sense of serenity. The grounds are so beautiful. It’s just a calm, serene place. Then when you get in the building…this is the best job I’ve ever had. The vibe here is so friendly and the staff is just like your extended family, so my work family. That and just providing a good service for our families in home care as well as the Care Center.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Angela Hospice?
It was around the holidays and we had a big donation of all sorts of candy, cookies, all kinds of sweets, chocolate, everything. You walked in and it was like you were at the Willy Wonka store…just chocolate for days. That was a really nice memory for me.

Volunteer Spotlight: Mary Ann Wiegel

Name: Mary Ann Wiegel

How long have you been a volunteer?
Three years.

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do as a volunteer?
Hospitality cart, caregiver dinner once a month, and the annual events.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
I like being a volunteer. I think it’s been rewarding to give back and also, the people we serve really appreciate it. That’s what it’s all about. And I’m a healthy person so I can do it.

Why Angela Hospice?
I live in the vicinity.

Mary Ann does the hospitality cart each
week in the Care Center.
What is your favorite part about volunteering?
The people here. It’s a great place to be, everybody’s friendly. And the families we serve dinner for appreciate everything you do. That’s the rewarding part.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
There’s just too many. Probably talking, conversing with some of the patients who do care to talk to you. You know they appreciate you being in the room and that makes them feel good. Their families also appreciate that…when you come in and perhaps remind them about things like the dinner here and the soup in the kitchen on Mondays.

Employee Spotlight: Margaret Levine

Name: Margaret Levine, Bereavement Office Coordinator

How long have you worked here?
Three years.

What made you decide to work here?
I’ve been a volunteer here for 20 years. One of the things I did, besides home care, was work in the bereavement department. One of the social workers let me know that this position was going to be available and I thought, “I love doing that.” And I loved all these people. I thought I’d be happy here, and I am.

How had you heard of Angela Hospice?
Originally, I think this building had been up a couple of years. I just went by and thought that I wanted to learn more about hospice. It was kind of new to my thinking at the time. So I called them and I thought I’d take the volunteer classes but they only offered them in the day and I worked during the day. It was probably a year later before I could get in the classes, so I just kept talking to different people here about the classes. The more you hear the more interested you become, and then when they offered the nighttime classes I came and took the volunteer and bereavement training.

What’s a typical day like for you?
(huge laugh) Very busy, there’s a lot of variety in this job. I work with different volunteers every day and I spend a lot of time on the phone with them too because I send them on funeral home visits.

We set everything up for the memorials so there’s a lot of paperwork involved…getting all that information into the memorial service invites.

I talk to various people on the phone who need counseling. It kind of works out that the receptionist sends the calls to me.

We do a couple of mailings, like a six-month mailing and our angel mailing, and our grief support groups. So I coordinate all those things. I do the memorials. It kind of just goes on and on. It’s very busy but all of us kind of working together for a common goal – making sure we have bereavement for the families – which is nice.

At this year's Volunteer Appreciation dinner Margaret was
recognized for 20 years of service as a volunteer.
What is your favorite part about working at Angela Hospice?
I’ve been working for like 40 years, out there in the workforce for various organizations, but it’s like a whole different atmosphere here than in corporate organizations. First thing I noticed was every time I’d come in everyone smiles and says, “Hello!”

Everybody seems to be happy to be here. People don’t seem to be coming here because they have to get their nine to five. I really enjoy coming here and helping. You feel like no matter what you’re doing – whether it’s paperwork or if it’s hands-on care – no matter what, you’re all going to be in that same mode of helping whoever we can. I think we all just feel like that about each other. We’re really helping people with a tough time in their life. We can all relate. I guess that’s my favorite part of being here, everyone I come in contact with.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Angela Hospice?
I did a lot of home care as a volunteer, which I still do, and with that there’s always all these people that keep coming back into your mind that you remember. I always think if people are afraid to do home care they should always try it. They’d be surprised it’s not scary at all.

I did have one lady I would visit a couple times a week for about six months at her house. I’d do whatever she needed; I’d throw a load of laundry in, make her lunch, I’d read to her, and we’d talk. But she loved having her mending done. I would mend her lingerie because she said you can’t get those anymore so I’d have to mend them all. She was just so happy to get that done, I can’t tell you. She couldn’t do it anymore. So I went to her house for a long time and then she went to the Care Center for maybe the last month of her life (down where the supply office is nowI always think of that when I go down there). So I still came to visit her and the first thing she said when I came into her room was, “Could you do that mending?” I said, “Sure!” I ran all around this place looking for a needle and thread. Then I went to the volunteer office and they found me some, and I went in and did her mending for her.

I just remember how delighted that one little thing…what it meant to her. Even in the last weeks of her life she wanted her things to be a certain way, and you can do that. It was nothing, it was simple for me to do. There are so many simple things that you can do and it just makes the end of their life so much easier for them, I think. I always think of her.

Volunteer Spotlight: A Piece of Comfort

Jacki Shipley might not have had any hospice experience before becoming an Angela Hospice volunteer, but she did have barbeque experience.

“I barbeque as much as I can in the summer,” she laughed. “I love the grill.”

Jacki, who has been an Angela Hospice volunteer since 2009, has been working at the Care Center’s weekly summer barbeques the last few years. She doesn’t work the grill here though – another volunteer does that – but she does help in plenty of other ways.

A short list includes making salads and desserts, helping set up the food and silverware before patients and their families arrive, and bringing food to patients in the Care Center that can’t make it to the atrium.

“I think the whole hospitality piece is just a great thing that Angela Hospice does,” Jacki said. “Whether it’s the caretaker dinners, or tea, or the barbeques during the summer…sometimes it’s someone in the family’s only meal.

“To be able to give them some little piece of comfort is nice,” she continued.

Those small moments of providing comfort are one of Jacki’s favorite parts about the barbeques. She said when she’s able to see an entire family come down together and relax, that is another favorite part.

Jacki helps in many ways at the weekly barbeques.
“It’s nice to see people out of their rooms and enjoying each other,” Jacki said.

Jacki has gotten to meet a lot of interesting people while volunteering at the barbeques. She thinks anyone would make a good barbeque volunteer, as long as they’re open to whatever they may experience.

“Just come and smile and enjoy,” she said.

Being open to new experiences is how Jacki ended up volunteering at Angela Hospice in the first place. After talking to a friend whose father had been an Angela Hospice patient, Jacki figured she would check it out. So she went on the Angela Hospice website, saw they had volunteer training, and decided to sign up.

“I took the training and I just didn’t really look back after that,” she laughed.

Once she started volunteering, she saw an ad in the volunteer newsletter about working the barbeques. So why did she sign up? She said it just looked like fun.

“I thought, ‘Who doesn’t love a barbeque?’” she said. “I like barbeques. It looked like a really neat thing to do.”

Jackie has been working at the barbeques ever since. How long does she plan to continue volunteering? There’s no end in sight.