Once classes this semester ended, I came home and thought about where I would like to complete my Luckyday service hours. I have previously served at locations such as Southern Pines Animal Shelter and Edwards Street Food Pantry, but I wanted to try something new and closer to home this time. A family friend informed me that they had contact information for the volunteer coordinator of the Yazoo City, MS Adoration Hospice group. I immediately knew this was the service I wanted to partake in due to the fact that our elderly have been affected in the worst possible ways as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage our state.
I cannot imagine the mental toll that complete isolation from the outside world has on someone, especially those who very much depend on their loved ones for support. These individuals have been isolated from their friends, children, and grandchildren for months now. The most personal form of communication they can have is through a window or over Facetime. I have also had two grandparents that were admitted into Hospice care in their own final days. I remember being taken back by the quality care they received from their Hospice nurses. I greatly admire the angelic work these nurses do.
Because I felt the need to serve the elderly during this difficult time and also assist the Hospice organization, I contacted the volunteer coordinator to see if they needed any help over the month of December. Her name is Katie Poe, and her phone number is (662) 571-5288. She explained that another Luckyday Scholar in Yazoo City had also contacted her and that she would love for us to come help them paint the windows of various nursing homes in the central Mississippi Delta region.
We set up our ten hours of service time over a four day period (December 15-18). Each day I traveled to the Adoration Hospice facility in Yazoo City where I met up with the volunteer coordinator and other Luckyday scholar. From there we traveled to a few different nursing homes that have a partnership with the hospice branch. Once we got to the nursing homes, we would split up and go to each residential window and paint various messages of hope and Christmas cheer for the elderly to get to view each day. Sometimes we would even see the individuals through the windows and get to wave and try our best to communicate with them (it was hard for them to hear through the glass), but I believe even this small form of communication made them joyful.
I learned that the situation our elderly population finds themselves in is just as lonely as I expected it to be. Each and every nursing home we visited looked almost deserted. It brought me so much happiness to be able to bring some action and Christmas spirit to these facilities, even if we could not communicate with them inside.
If anyone is interested in volunteering with the Yazoo City, MS Adoration Hospice branch, you can contact volunteer coordinator Katie Poe at (662) 571-5288.