Stories of Hope

Stories of Hope is an e-communication that is sent to our subscribers on the 15th of each month. These stories will be brought to you through the lens of our staff, volunteers, donors, patients, and community partners. Our goal is to highlight the hope that is present in our community through the interconnected world of faith, healing, philanthropy, and advocacy. To receive these stories as well as other important messages, visit the subscribe link and submit your info.

July 2022

January 2022 – Julia Schmidt
February 2022 – Cyndi Weyers
March 2022 – Barb Hassan
April 2022 – Susan Mark Landis
May 2022 – Kathy Holsopple
June 2022 – Sound of Service

In November 2020 I saw Dr. Michelle Shelly’s Facebook post pleading for volunteers for CHH’s rapidly growing drive through COVID testing site and knew I needed to get involved. I decided to inquire about volunteering. By December, I was starting as the project manager and volunteer coordinator. I knew there would be challenges, but was grateful to find a sense of community and witness the power of camaraderie and teamwork.

At the test site this past year and a half, I have met and formed valuable lasting relationships with people from many walks of life. It has been astonishing to see the number of people who have been willing to step forward and work together to provide this vital service to our community. I quickly came to understand and appreciate the magnitude that can be accomplished with a dedicated community like the one CHH’s testing site created.

At times testing wasn’t easy. The lines were long, the weather was harsh, and it seemed that the only consistency was that there would be change. I felt at times the hardest part of my job was adequately expressing how grateful I was for volunteers. There were days I was sure volunteers would not want to come back, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. When there was a spot to be filled people always stepped up. Some felt they weren’t making a significant contribution, but I knew that having one extra volunteer that shift meant that we could test more patients, shorten the wait time, send less people away, and possibly diagnose patients who could then seek treatment, or quarantine, and protect others. The selflessness, dedication, and patience was in abundance and because of this, we were able to test up to three hundred and fifty patients per day at the peak of the pandemic!

Through the darkness of the pandemic, the testing site served a purpose for many who contributed. For some, it provided a social space during the isolating months, for others like myself, it gave a sense of purpose and a tangible way to feel helpful throughout the pandemic. In many cases, it brought people together. I saw couples, families, and groups of friends volunteering together to serve our community. My family was one of them. 

My family began volunteering with COVID testing in 2020. Like others they were looking for ways to give back to our community. Assisting at the COVID testing site was a good fit for my sister, Elise, who has Down Syndrome, as she was able to contribute and be part of a supportive understanding volunteer team. Between Elise and my parents, Curt and Sherry, the three of them, they helped register patients, prep and transfer swabs, and unpackage new supplies. 

This opportunity presented unexpected learnings and is clearly one that will stay with me. I am so grateful to have been able to work alongside amazing, kind, and selfless people to provide COVID testing to our community, especially to marginalized populations who would otherwise not have had access. I have enjoyed witnessing the organization’s growth over the past two years. Now that testing has concluded, I look forward to seeing what lies ahead for this organization and for all of the exciting programs and developments that are underway to further serve those without health insurance.
 Tune in next month for another story!