Ann Champion

Ann Champion has visited seniors in nursing homes for nearly 20 years.

Many senior adults and nursing home residents have been on lockdown since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. 

Because volunteers of Southeast Christian Church’s Pastoral Ministry are unable to visit at-risk individuals in person, the Pastoral Ministry is looking for additional volunteers to make phone calls or write cards in lieu of in-person visits.

“I’ve been privileged to listen to some phone calls and those people look forward to that,” said Jo Campbell, Pastoral Care coordinator. “It’s like manna from heaven for them to be able to talk to someone besides a nurse, doctor or family member. ‘Oh, someone from my church is calling and checking on me.’”

Volunteers are asked to call or write a card to a senior adult about once a month.

Pastoral Care coordinator Teresa Kemp said a simple “buddy check” goes a long way.

“My concern is people feel forgotten,” Kemp said. “Whether they’re single or live alone, those little touches are what makes this big church small and so caring. A call is not intrusive.”

Nursing home volunteer coordinator Ann Champion, who started volunteering in the early 2000s, said many senior adults crave conversation.

“We want somebody who has love and compassion for people, especially people who are confined to homes and are unable to get out,” Champion said. “People who are encouragers.”

Champion said that though visitation is not currently in-person, the principle remains the same: volunteers leave the interaction feeling more blessed than before.

“It takes a special kind of person to go to a nursing home and be in that environment where it can be very depressing,” Champion said. “Some of the residents have Alzheimer’s, so it can be hard to connect with them. On the other hand, we have residents who are 100 years old and are very vibrant. It’s not all gloom and doom. All the volunteers say, ‘I was blessed more than what I was able to do for the residents.’”

For more information or to volunteer, contact Southeast’s Pastoral Ministry at (502) 253-8447.