Mather Hospital has begun to welcome back its Auxiliary Volunteers, who have been absent from the hospital since March 2020 due to the pandemic.

The first volunteers returned to the Thrift Shop, Gift Shop, mail room and Ambulatory Surgery Unit. More volunteers will return as they complete their health assessments and are cleared to work. As a result, the Thrift Shop has reopened on Thursdays and Fridays from 9:30am-3 pm and the Gift Shop has expanded its hours to 10:30am-2pm Monday-Friday. (Starting 8/16)

“I’ve been waiting a long time for this. It was tough during COVID,” said Donna Russell, who has volunteered at the Thrift Shop for two years. “I missed seeing the people. I missed doing the work. I missed my other volunteer friends. It’s good to be back.”

Donna said the customers feel the same way. “They’re so happy we’re back. They couldn’t wait to shop. They couldn’t wait to come and see what we have. They couldn’t wait to see us. Many of them know us from other years past. They’re glad that things are coming back to normal.”

Barbara McHugh said she was happy to be working in the Gift Shop again but was a little apprehensive on her first day back. “I love doing the Gift Shop, but I was a little nervous because I forgot a lot. I’m looking forward to seeing the customers and the ladies at the front desk.” Barbara has volunteered at the Gift Shop for more than four years.

Volunteers have been a part of the Mather Hospital family since 1958. In that time, they have contributed many thousands of hours of service for the benefit of our patients, staff and visitors. Volunteers assist in patient care areas, staffing the reception areas, escorting patients and visitors to their destinations, and working in the Gift and Thrift Shops. Their fundraising activities have helped the hospital purchase new equipment, fund building expansions and supplement department budgets.

Volunteering offers the benefits of developing new interests, making new friends and, most importantly, gaining personal satisfaction by making a difference in a patient’s hospital stay. At Mather, all volunteers receive a meal allowance per shift in the hospital dining room. Anyone age 14 and older can volunteer.

Director of Volunteer Services Keri Dunne said she is recruiting both adult and junior volunteers. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Keri at (631) 476-2749 or