The Act of Giving Back

Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to one’s community. An act of giving without expecting anything in return, volunteering is an essential part of the Medicine Hat Health Foundation.

Theresa Reimer has been a volunteer with the Health Foundation Gift Shop for the past 5 years.
Now retired 12 years, during her working life, she did a variety of jobs: working at Walmart, Molly Maid, and at the greenhouses in Redcliff. When asked if she preferred Walmart or volunteering she laughed and said, “Oh, volunteering. Definitely volunteering. I enjoy this, I mean, I don’t get paid for it, but it’s just the atmosphere. And you meet so many people.”

Theresa began volunteering after a friend approached her about it. Theresa recounts, “She asked me, ‘Theresa, what are you doing with your spare time?’ And I said, ‘not too much.’ She said, ‘do you want to volunteer at the Gift Shop in the hospital?’ and I said, ‘sure why not?’” So, Theresa came in and shadowed for about a week, and after that she was hooked. “And I thought, hey, this is great!”

Rita Maier, who volunteers on the shift before Theresa, has been volunteering with the Gift Shop for just over 3 years. She heard about the volunteer opportunity through a friend as well. She says, “I heard about volunteering at the Gift Shop through another volunteer, Millie. I wanted to do something and she told me about an opportunity to shadow here.”

Being retired, volunteering with the Gift Shop gives the ladies a sense of purpose. It’s a reason to get dressed up and get out of the house. “I love the people that I work with. It’s just such a good, positive atmosphere,” says Theresa. Rita echoes the same sentiment, acknowledging that interacting with people and learning new things is what she enjoys most.

Theresa really enjoys visiting with the various customers who come through. Often patients come in simply so they can take a walk and find a change of scenery. She enjoys taking time to chat with them and hear about their stories.

Aside from the personal benefits of volunteering, she enjoys being a part of something bigger. “I think it’s just the fact that all the money we get here goes to the Health Foundation, so I like that.”

Rita has two words of advice for anybody thinking of volunteer work: “Do it.” She also volunteers with the Good Samaritan Society and Canadian Blood Services. She says volunteering is a “great opportunity” to help out your community. To give your time and energy to a cause is just as valuable as any monetary amount.