Kitty Hershey spent many years volunteering for Black Rock Retreat Center, Quarryville, and with the Red Cross in a local hospital. She first got to know Landis Homes when her father and stepmother, Elias and Edna Esbenshade, became residents in 1992. Near the end of her parents’ lives when they were part of a healthcare household, she noticed some services for residents being carried out by volunteers.
Soon after her stepmother passed away in 2011, Kitty, who at that time lived just outside of Lancaster City, became a Landis Homes volunteer. Her first role was doing transportation for the physical therapy department a few times a month. Later on she added some time helping with resident activities in the Life Enrichment department and enjoyed that very much as well.
Today, Kitty has several volunteer assignments including escorting residents by wheelchair to the hair salon and shopping at Oregon Dairy to stock the General Store on campus. She also helps occasionally with special events like resident teas, programs and events. Kitty is aware that her help is tangibly felt by residents and team members in the variety of tasks that she is able to perform.
“There is more to it than meets the eye,” she says.
She shares that through volunteering her relationships with residents has deepened over time on both an emotional and spiritual level.
For her, volunteering involves three elements of giving: body, soul and spirit. She relates it to the example of a three-legged stool that needs each leg in order to stand.
She says, “I do not volunteer in order to receive something in return, but I have been tremendously blessed.”
Kitty and her husband, Clair, became residents of Landis Homes in January 2016. Early in their marriage, they were dairy farmers 10 miles south of Quarryville, and they now see their volunteer endeavors as their new “work.” They agree that being volunteers on campus has helped them get to know some of their new neighbors and other residents.
“The volunteer office provides a wonderful and needed service,” says Kitty. “I believe volunteering is reciprocal…it is both giving and receiving at the same time.”