When coronavirus rolled in to our world last spring, HealthPartners made the unprecedented decision to pause our volunteer programs and to ask thousands of dedicated volunteers in our hospitals and clinics to stop reporting for work. It was for their safety, but we miss them! This Thanksgiving season, we give thanks for our wonderful volunteers never far from our thoughts:

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder. We have missed the smiles and the special gifts that volunteers bring to our hospital and clinic,” said Jo Wrich, foundation director at Westfields Hospital & Clinic.

cindy receiving a bouquet of flowers as a thank you gift.

To show their appreciation, Westfields staff are delivering roses and gas gift cards to their volunteers this month, in lieu of the volunteers’ annual appreciation celebration that usually takes place in November.

“We realize when they are not here to support staff and patients, life goes on, but it’s not the same,” said Wrich. “We so look forward to the future when we can all be together again.”

The Lakeview Hospital welcome team, Steve Schwartz and Colleen Odegard, had been missing the friendly faces of Lakeview volunteer greeters since COVID precautions began. When Minnesota State Fair time rolled around, Schwartz and Odegard decided they weren’t going to let coronavirus stop all the fun. They set up a Drive-Through Fair Experience for their volunteers, to let them know how much they were missed. As well as catching up on volunteers’ news at a safe distance, they gave out a bag of goodies to each volunteer, each with its own State Fair twist: Kinda Sweet Colleen’s cookies; Stingy Steve’s milk; stick-on cheese; mini donuts; and State Fair trivia.

To honor its auxiliary volunteers, Hutchinson Health ran an ad in a local newspaper last month thanking them for their dedication and service this year. The volunteers will also receive handwritten thank you cards this month.

In April, during National Volunteer Week, Methodist Hospital sent each volunteer a bookmark as well as daily communications with fun articles, book suggestions and a special message from the hospital clown, Dr. Goofball. Since then, Methodist’s monthly volunteer newsletter shares stories highlighting volunteers who have come forward with exceptional work during COVID. Methodist volunteers have continued to contribute long-distance, making thousands of handmade masks, teddy bears, prayer shawls and hundreds of handmade cards for patients and colleagues.

Dr. Goofball with his face painted like a clown proudly displays his volunteer badge.

Amery Hospital & Clinic keeps in touch with volunteers at least once a month to keep them informed, thank them and let them know how they are appreciated and missed. They plan to send a thank you card around Thanksgiving.

Hudson Hospital & Clinic is sending a gratitude card to volunteers this month with a packet of cider included.

During this season of gratitude, if you have a way to do so: Thank a volunteer. Let them know how much you appreciate them. We know we do!

Please select from the foundations listed below to make your gift. Thank you.