The ‘Reel’ Reward of Volunteerism

The Hilty Home Activity Room can be found to be very lively every first Thursday of the month. It began when Margaret Stechschulte of Columbus Grove started coming to Hilty Home to visit her mother-in-law who was a resident at the time.

sewing ladies at mhco

Here, a group of volunteers known as the Sewing Ladies mend and alter residents’ garments

The Sewing Ladies at MHCO

After seeing the work Margaret did for her mother-in-law’s garments, others began to ask if she could tackle more sewing projects for the other residents living at Hilty Home. Initially, Margaret and Trudy Baber of Bluffton brought their own sewing machines into the facility.

After a few years and many ‘reels’ of thread, Hilty Home received donated sewing machines for the group to use. More ladies from Pandora, Bluffton, Columbus Grove and the surrounding area decided to help with the mending projects as well. Soon the ladies formed a group and decided to meet regularly.

Each member of the group has a special talent that adds to each project they receive.

Bringing Talents Together

Whether it is installing a zipper, replacing a button or mending a rip, the Sewing Ladies seem to be up for the challenge. Not only do they help mend garments, but they have also helped sew napkins, bedspreads, curtains and even night caps.

Although the ladies stay busy with the sewing projects, the noise from their sewing machines are drowned out by the conversation and laughter that fills the Activity Room as elders join in the fun. Hilty Activity Director Dee Steffen said the residents frequently line up outside the Activity Room door an hour before the ladies get there.

Joann Ruen of Columbus Grove added, “When we come, it is like visiting our family. We always feel so welcome.” The Sewing Ladies, serving for over 30 years, are one example of the many volunteer groups that support the MHCO ministry year after year and feel they get as much as they give!

dr oliver planting

Dr. Oliver Lugibihl, Service Group member, assists with spring planting at Mennonite Memorial Home

The Bigger Picture

At MHCO, our bigger picture is outlined in our mission statement: We are dedicated to being a Christ-centered community that promotes personal decisionmaking and purposeful living for each older adult served.

The duties of our volunteers helps fulfill this mission statement. Here are some examples of the duties of our volunteers:

  • Caring for the needs of elders in our community by helping with our Mobile Meals and Our Daily Bread Program.
  • Transporting elders to and from appointments, the beauty shop, church, shopping trips and health clinics, not only assist the resident, but also help our elders live a purposeful life.
  • Bringing smiles to the faces of our elders through music, conversation and Scripture. These activities support the Christ-centered atmosphere within our four campuses.

The ways our volunteers provide support seem endless. For the past eight years, MHCO has recorded more than 5,000 hours per year.

Planting Seeds of Kindness

Although we may not see the impact immediately, what is given eventually blossoms into God’s beautiful creation right in front of us – what a wonderful picture!

plants from flower fund

Elaine Bauman, Dianne Huber and Winford Bauman, Service Group members, plant flowers purchased with donations from the annual Flower Fund.

Tom and Ann Heimann, retired school teachers, have made Bluffton their home since attending Bluffton College back in the mid ‘70s. Two years ago, they decided to move into a Maple Crest Villa due to the convenience and the assurance of the availability of more services and support should the need arise.

The workshop at Maple Crest was a draw as Tom has enjoyed woodworking since high school. When TR Steiner, Maintenance Coordinator of Maple Crest, established an Antique Tractor Show as part of the Bluffton Fall Festival, elder Wayne Shafer agreed to make small, wooden tractors as a thank you for the people who showed tractors and children who won the Kiddie Tractor Pull events.

Eventually, the project became too much for Wayne to continue so Tom offered a hand. With Tom’s gifts and interest in woodworking, it was a natural fit. Woodworking is a relaxing and fulfilling hobby. In Tom’s words: “It feels good, and there is a satisfaction in helping people, especially when everyone is so nice.”

In 2016, Tom also helped with watering all the planters at Maple Crest. He noted, “When it is hot out, you need to water those planters every day or two.” This year Tom will take a break from watering the planters, so we will need someone to fill his shoes!

When volunteering, every task – no matter how big or small – is similar to planting a seed. This mirrors are 2017 MHCO Volunteer banquet theme, “MHCO Volunteers Plant the Seed of Kindness.”

Find Out How You Can Volunteer at MHCO Today!

tom with wooden tractors

Tom with a few of the 75-plus tractors he made last year to give as prizes at the Fall Festival Maple Crest Tractor Show. Come check out the Fall Festival on Sept. 23, 2017