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First In A Series

By Staff | Dec 8, 2011

This is the first in a multi-part series on volunteerism. Volunteers are needed throughout our community at all times of the year. This series will feature some of the organizations and groups that are in need of those helping hands.

It is December, and hearts and minds have turned to thoughts of Christmas and the holiday season. Amid the planning of parties and dinners, the shopping for gifts, and the decorating of homes, there exists a desire in many to do something meaningful for others. Some find that being a volunteer fills a need not just in their communities, but in themselves, as well.

At Palo Alto County Hospital (PACHS) in Emmetsburg, many opportunities exist for those wishing to volunteer their time and talents.

The Palo Alto County Hospital Auxiliary is devoted to raising the funds needed to purchase equipment for use in the hospital.

“The main focus of the Auxiliary is to raise money through their membership dues and various fundraisers held throughout the year,” explained Kathy Merrill, Marketing Director at PACHS. “Since 1995, the Auxiliary has donated over $204,000 dollars in support of the hospital.”

According to Merrill, in the last four years, Auxiliary donations have totaled approximately $58,300.

“Donations have included a patient wheel chair each year, surgery equipment, lab equipment, eight tables, clinic equipment, and furnishings for an obstetrics room, an acute care room, and a PARC Hall room for the remodeling/construction project,” noted Merrill.

The Auxiliary has also made donations for an Iowa Lakes Community College scholarship, Relay for Life, Butler County Tornado Relief, postage for military packages, Stork’s Closet, Rotary’s Polio Plus program, and more.

Money is raised through annual events like the Bake Sale, Jewelry Sale, Valentine’s Day Candy Sale, and Salad Luncheon. Funds are also amassed by the hospital’s gift shop.

“You can help with any of these projects,” said Merrill. “The Auxiliary is a fun group of women. It’s amazing how much they do.”

The Auxiliary meets once a month. Auxiliary members from each town in Palo Alto County represent their communities at the meetings. The public is welcome to attend.

For more information about volunteering with the Palo Alto County Hospital Auxiliary, contact Kathy Merrill at 712-852-5463.

While the Auxiliary plays a vital role at PACHS, other chances to volunteer exist. Merrill works together with Diana Parisi, who is in charge of volunteers at the hospital.

“We have wonderful opportunities for volunteers,” explained Parisi.

Volunteers are needed to staff the Registration desk and the Same Day Surgery desk.

“The biggest thing is to greet those coming into the hospital with a nice smile and greeting–and be there to give directions, if needed,” said Parisi.

Others volunteer as van drivers as part of a service offered through Community Health. Van drivers pick up individuals at their homes, taking them to doctor and other healthcare appointments.

“These men and women who volunteer to drive the van are so wonderful,” Parisi shared. “Some will take these people for rides around the community or out into the country on the days they’re not volunteering with us. I can’t say enough good things about our volunteers.”

Other volunteers hold Bible Studies at area nursing homes, and some help the residents.

Each April, the volunteers are recognized at an annual breakfast organized by Parisi.

“It’s fun to get out in the community and see the new retirees out there and see who would like to be active in volunteering,” said Parisi. “We like to pamper them and keep them involved in the community.”

For more information about opportunities to volunteer at Palo Alto County Hospital, contact Diana Parisi at 712-852-5480.