By Callie Jackson 
BELLEVILLE – Over the past 76 years, 1,200 volunteers and over 110,000 volunteer hours have been dedicated to the Belleville General Hospital and yet it is still in need of help.
On Wednesday, the Quinte Health Care held the monthly information session to try to bring in new volunteers. “It is a huge challenge right now to be recruiting volunteers,” said Catherine Walker, the hospital’s volunteer and spiritual liaison worker. “We are always looking for help, simply (because of) the sheer magnitude of the volunteer activity in the hospital.”
Volunteers help support patients, families and staff and are found on every level of BGH, from sitting on the advisory board and the board of directors to being one of the friendly faces that greet you at the doors, Walker told QNet News.
Volunteers are critical because when people come to the hospital they are at their most vulnerable, she said. It is a good feeling for patients and visitors to walk in and see the welcoming smile of a volunteer, she added.
Fundraising events and volunteers have helped BGH in many ways. Volunteer efforts has helped the hospital afford much-needed equipment, Walker said. “It is so difficult to measure all the things that volunteers do. When you step back and take a wide-lens view of everything that they do, it is essential to health care and is part of what we do every day.”
When asked why it is hard to get more volunteers Walker said, it is due to people’s busy schedules and not being able to find enough time to help out. However, she added, “some of the busiest people I know are the most active volunteers. It’s all about finding the area in which you can give time, because it is so rewarding and it will give you a sense of accomplishment.”
Volunteering doesn’t have to take lot of time, she said: “You don’t have to give two hours each week, it can be as simple as volunteering for fundraisers that happens once a year.”
Gail Rollins, who has been a volunteer at BGH for the past 23 years, said that helping people is the greatest benefit. She has never had a problem with taking shifts or the scheduling, she said, adding that the hospital will always work around whatever you have going on. She urges people to come out and help, she said.
The hospital encourages anyone, whether new to the community, newly retired, or who simply has some extra time, to give volunteering a chance. “We have such an amazing team here, and everyone generally has a positive experience” said Walker.
If you go to qhc.on.ca  and click the “Volunteer” button, you will find more information about volunteering.