Published on April 14, 2016

Reading Health System Celebrates Its Dedicated Volunteers

During National Volunteer Week (April 10 to 16, 2016), Reading Health System is celebrating its volunteers and their important contributions to the health system and the community.

Currently, 196 people volunteer on Reading Health System's campus. In 2015, volunteers donated 54,000 hours to 51 departments within the health system. In addition, off-campus volunteers created more than 40,000 handmade patient comfort items such as compression pillows, weighted bears, eyeglass holders, knitted caps and prayer shawls for patients.

Volunteers help Reading Health System advance health and transform lives in the community. For example, they offer services such as providing company to elderly patients and dying patients, escorting patients to rooms, delivering supplies, helping with office support, and serving in a variety of ways with The Friends of Reading Hospital, which raises money toward projects that improve community health.

Active volunteer Dee Bernardo is a prime example. Bernardo is a familiar face as a volunteer in the Emergency Department, as a No One Dies Alone Companion who sits with dying patients, and as an emergency preparedness volunteer who helps with emergency readiness drills.

"When someone is dying or has a family member in the Emergency Department, sometimes they just need someone to be present with them," Bernardo said. "I have been through a lot, and I can be present with them in an honest way. I've realized that people gave me that gift when I needed it, and now I'm passing it on to others."

To celebrate Reading Health System volunteers, a luncheon will be held in their honor Wednesday, April 20, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event's keynote speaker, Annarose Ingarra-Milch, is a renowned inspirational speaker and author of the award-winning novel Lunch with Lucille.