I had my first volunteer shift at Canuck Place Children's Hospice tonight. The hospice provides palliative care for kids living with a life-threatening illness. When I first heard about it, I thought it was a place that kids went to for end-of-life care. But it is actually more of a respite facility for kids to visit for a short period of time to provide their families with a bit of a break. The hospice is actually in a huge heritage house in the Granville area. It's the biggest house I've ever seen, and being a house, it can provide care in a home-like environment.
I volunteer in the kitchen. Lunch and dinner are provided each day to the kids, staff, and volunteers. The food isn't anything particularly special, but it is good food - one or two entrees and a lot of vegetables and salads. Cooking there really feels like cooking for friends or family, but for about fifty people instead of for a small dinner party.
The shift is four hours long. The first two hours, I help out where I'm needed. Tonight, I made caesar salad and some cupcakes with cream cheese icing. Then dinner is served, so I take a short break to eat. I don't really know anyone there yet, so it's interesting meeting new people, especially the kids. I sat beside this girl who was very excited to be going on an outing to see Despicable Me. It's always a bit challenging to figure out what to talk about with kids, let alone kids with a disability. But it'll get easier each week, especially once I get to know them a bit better.
After I eat, I become the dishwasher, and I just clean up for the rest of the night. But the time goes by really fast. And it feels good to be able to be a part of something that I enjoy that helps others at the same time.