LAURINBURG — The cheery expressions and sense of celebration during Thursday’s volunteer banquet gave evidence that, at Hospice of Scotland County, death is not the end of the story.
“I got involved with it because my godmother was over there when she passed,” said Frances Cromartie.
For the last year, Cromartie has volunteered at Morrison Manor for the last year with everything from answering the phone and washing clothes to providing company to families.”
“I love all of it, meeting new people, the staff, the families. It’s not just people passing away.”
Thursday’s banquet showcased Camp Spinoza, a weekend overnight camp held annually at Camp Monroe for children who have lost family members. Organized by Hospice, the annual camp is typically funded by a grant from Scotland Memorial Foundation, and was named for the Spinoza bear, a stuffed toy that can be programmed to soothe young children.
“I was looking through a catalog one day and it had this bear that talked, and people would get it for children who were grieving and it would say comforting things to them and have music and little songs,” said Hospice volunteer and former bereavement director Henrietta Carmichael, who first had the idea for the camp 20 years ago.
The volunteers heard from a junior camp counselor as well as, via projector, camp volunteer Noran Sanford, who led them on a video tour of a camp session.
Hospice utilizes about 30 patient and family volunteers on a regular basis, with junior volunteer counselors at Camp Spinoza and volunteers with the annual golf tournament fundraiser bringing the total to around 100.
“They help with the bereavement group, they work at Morrison Manor, they visit patients in their homes and in the nursing homes,” said Hospice Volunteer Director Carol Lee.
One volunteer, a student in Richmond Community College’s human services technology program, even made birdseed party favors for the volunteer banquet.
Last year, Hospice’s volunteers provided 6,500 hours of service to the organization.
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-276-2311, ext. 17. Follow her on Twitter @emkaylbg.