CHICOPEE — As Harmony House, a space for those in need of hospice care who may not have the family or financial means to care for them, looks to reopen this spring in a new location, it needs a large group of volunteers for a wide range of positions to make the place run smoothly.

“Our volunteers are the heart of this home. Because we do not receive insurance or government payments, we rely on this dedicated group of individuals,” explained Gina Massa, president of Harmony House’s board of directors. “We accept volunteers who are filled with empathy, have some healthcare background if they would like to volunteer to assist residents and can work very well among a devoted team.”

Harmony House will host one more recruitment event on Wednesday, March 20 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. for anyone interested in finding out more about the commitment. This is the last in a series of events Harmony House has hosted this winter, which have so far recruited about half of its goal of 25 total volunteers.

“Harmony House becomes a home and our staff and volunteers act as surrogate family and friends to our residents,” said Mazza. “We need more volunteers to cover all the weekday hours. We are hopeful that we’ll have the trained caregivers necessary to open very soon.”

The planned reopening this spring comes in a new location at 66 View St. in Chicopee that can accommodate up to five residents, increasing from the one or two residents the old location could manage.

“This new space offers private rooms and a beautiful outdoors all in a quiet spot in Chicopee,” explained Mazza.

The late Ruth Willemain, local teacher and hospice volunteer, founded Harmony House in 2007 “to help those at the end of life who may be alone or in need of care,” explained Mazza. “While we are located in Chicopee, our mission is to help folks from all over Western Massachusetts. We know the requests for admission to this special place will be great.”

In addition to health care givers, volunteers are also needed for housework, yardwork and companionship — playing games, reading or just sitting and talking with the residents. For more information about volunteering or Harmony House, visit www.harmonyhousewma.org or its Facebook page.

Tina Lesniak
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