Pieces of clothing that were worn by the patient are given to a memory bear volunteer who sews the bear out of the cloth. Currently, Gulfside has 10 memory bear volunteers who make these special bears for surviving family members. Collectively, this group has made more than 100 bears.
“We have had quite a few requests for multiple bears from one family. We know how special these bears are to a grieving child, teen or adult,” said Director of Bereavement and Volunteers at Gulfside, Sonia Quinones. “It is a special kind of work, as our volunteers are well aware of the emotional impact these bears have on the survivors, and the family responds by sending the memorial bear volunteer a card of appreciation.”
Gulfside recently invited all of the volunteers to a special luncheon honoring them at Gulfside’s Lutz Thrift Shoppe on Feb. 24. This gave the volunteers the chance to meet and share their experiences making the bears, since they are based throughout Pasco County.
If you would like to become a volunteer with Gulfside Regional Hospice or would like to learn more about the memory bears, call 727-845-5707 or 813-780-1235.
Gulfside Regional Hospice, established as a nonprofit corporation in Pasco County in 1988 and initially licensed in 1989, serves more than 300 patients daily. GRH employs over 250 professionals and has more than 550 volunteers, and is the only hospice that serves Pasco County exclusively. Gulfside Regional Hospice was selected the 2011 Non-profit of the Year by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. For more information about Gulfside Regional Hospice, call 727-845-5707 or visit http://www.GRHospice.org.
Photo provided by Gulfside Regional Hospice
1. Gulfside’s memory bear volunteers pose for a picture at a luncheon on Feb. 24. Pictured from left to right are Gulfside’s volunteer coordinator Kathie Poole, volunteers Jill Skinner, Renea Harris, Idalides Carpenter, Judi Brookover, Kay Hess and Gulfside volunteer coordinator Heather De Los Santos.
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