The members at Coronado Community United Methodist Church in New Smyrna Beach were recently recognized as the “Volunteer of the Year” by Ocean View Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.
The announcement, made at a weekly luncheon at Ocean View, caught Kay Akins, the leader of the volunteer group, and other members by surprise.
Recognizing volunteer groups at the weekly luncheon is not unusual, but the honor still caught Akins and the other members off guard.
|Coronado Community volunteers Sally Richards (l), Kay Akins (R), showing the new, lightweight hymnal.|
The congregation has volunteered at Ocean View for more than 35 years, and its most recent project was especially remarkable.
As part of the volunteer initiative, members hold worship services at Ocean View every Wednesday morning. They sing hymns, worship songs and a guest speaker gives a sermon or homily.
However, some of the Ocean View residents had trouble reading and holding their hymnals, due to the small print and the heavy weight.
Thankfully, the congregation helped alleviate the problem. Members gave the residents new hymnals that weighed less and had much larger print that was easier to read. Many more residents can join the worship service and truly experience the love of God.
“It’s a very rewarding experience for all of us,” Akins said. “You get to know the residents very well, and you really feel that they care about you. They even ask about you when you can’t make it to the service.”
In addition to the weekly worship service and the large print hymnal project, the Coronado volunteer group hosts other events for the residents of Ocean View.
One of the most popular is the Lima Bean Auction. Residents are given a certain number of lima beans and use them to bid on different items such as jewelry, hats, handmade artwork and more.
Occasionally, volunteers will help with handyman projects around the facility when the need arises.
“We truly feel that we are showing God’s love directly to the residents,” said Akins. “We just want to help people. Some of us have had parents in nursing homes, and we would want them to be treated with the same level of care and compassion.”
The volunteer program runs entirely on donations from members of the church. If you would like to become involved with this ministry, contact a staff member at Coronado Community UMC by calling 386-428-6252.
—Jordan Chronister is a freelance writer based in Tampa.