By JIM MALVEN
Volunteers and staff members from the Missouri Baptist Medical Center will host a volunteer fair and open house from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, July 22 at the medical center’s main campus, 3015 N. Ballas Road.
The event will include tours of the facility and showcase some of the many volunteer opportunities available. Those opportunities include transporting patients, providing customer service at information desks, offering office support, greeting and helping customers in the gift shop, and providing comfort and assistance in outpatient and inpatient care centers. Missouri Baptist advertises all of those options as “flexible,” and Vice President Debra Victor said there are countless ways to help patients and families. For example, Joann Aldridge, a member of The Klassy Kickers dance team, entertains patients at nursing homes, and several volunteers knit baby caps or sew pillows in their homes.
A nonprofit institution, Missouri Baptist currently relies on about 220 regular adult volunteers and 100 student volunteers and is always seeking more. However, it had never held a volunteer fair until now.
“We appreciate our volunteers and would like to expand the culture of giving, expand our volunteer team,” explained Victor, who helped create the event. “If we get one new volunteer, [the fair] will be a success; if we get more than one, it will be an overwhelming success.”
Victor said volunteers are an essential part of Missouri Baptist not only because they provide direct assistance but also because they create a compassionate environment and foster a stronger relationship between the campus and the local community.
“They bring what’s important to them,” Victor said. “Community health education is structured around volunteer feedback.”
Missouri Baptist encourages volunteers to provide further input by serving on its Community Advisory Board and other similar boards.
Volunteers also are recognized with gift shop and cafeteria discounts and invitations to special social events. However, most volunteers say the greatest gift comes from the satisfaction of serving others.
“I really love working at the information desk, because that’s where patients get their first impression of the hospital,” said Patti Hamm, a former patient who is now Missouri Baptist’s longest-serving volunteer.
Cancer Center volunteer Helen Smalley said she gets just as much back from the patients as she gives. “The patients can be so uplifting themselves, and I’ve made so many lifelong friends here,” she said.
Morley Winters, a transport volunteer who has helped out at Missouri Baptist for about eight years, encourages others to join her.
“I think as long as you are able, you need to get out of bed and do something,” Winter said. “The hospital treats its volunteers really well. They appreciate everything we do.”
RSVPs are appreciated for the volunteer fair and can be made by emailing MBMC_Volunteer_Services@bjc.org or calling (314) 996-5132. Additional information is available online at www.missouribaptist.org/volunteer.