Volunteer chronicles: Sightseeing in Burnsville and sneaking cheeseburgers
Our volunteers go above and beyond to provide a sense of companionship to our clients, and volunteer Doug Johnson is a prime example of that. As a personal driver volunteer, he forms deeper bonds with clients as he drives them to appointments or on errand runs. Plus, he has fun doing it – especially when it ends in a secret cheeseburger run!
Why do you volunteer for Help at Your Door?
My plan of retiring and doing nothing lasted for about one week. After 43 years of professional work, I realized I needed to be making some kind of contribution in order to be happy. In looking for volunteer opportunities online, I found HAYD. I like driving clients to their various engagements, getting a chance to visit with them, and having the flexibility and support of the office staff. I have an 87-year-old mother down in Iowa who I can’t help on a daily basis (not that she would accept the help anyway) so in a sense, I do this volunteering to honor her as well.
What is your favorite memory volunteering with Help at Your Door?
I get such a kick out of some of the comments and requests made by clients. One was in awe of a route that I took that she thought was a pretty as a national park (McAndrews Road in Burnsville!). Another asked that I swing through the McDonald’s drive through for an illicit cheeseburger. And yet another warned me quite strongly not to watch over her shoulder and judge as she grocery shopped. One client quite frankly stated that she didn’t remember me, but she remembered my car. You never know what people will say.
What’s one thing you’ve learned from a client?
What I’ve learned from all the clients is that providing rides is only part of this work – it is also providing companionship and conversation. People who live alone, myself included, need to have positive interactions with others on a regular basis. I think HAYD recognizes that part of its mission is not just to help people live independently, but to do so happily.
Interested in joining Doug and our 500 other volunteers? Visit the Volunteer page to learn about different ways to get involved and how to sign up.
Celebrate fall with a tasty, hearty soup! This time of year, it is easy to find carrots, cauliflower, turnips, onions, broccoli, cabbage, kale and potatoes. All of these vegetables add vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to your diet.
- 2 carrots, grated or cut into slices
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped or 1 can of diced tomatoes
- Left-over or frozen vegetables, such as green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, green peas, corn, etc.
- 6 cups of water (beef or chicken broth, tomato juice or V8 juice can be used in place of water)
- Meat, cut up, such as cooked chicken or turkey, cooked and crumbled hamburger (optional)
- ½ cup of uncooked pasta (elbow macaroni, shells or rings), rice, or barley (optional)
- Seasonings including pepper, basil, tarragon, a bay leaf (Remove bay leaf when cooking is complete.)
- Grate or chop the vegetables by hand or in a food processor.
- Put all of the ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover the soup.
- Simmer for 1 to 2 hours. Check the soup often and add water as needed.
This soup recipe makes about 10 servings. Leftover soup can be stored in containers and frozen to use for future lunches or dinners. Toast, crackers, or rolls can be served with the soup.
Spring has sprung, and that means saying goodbye to cold weather and hello to spring cleaning and chores around the home. If you would like to assist a senior with preparing for the upcoming season, but live far away, or you don’t have the time or the tools, send them our way. We would love to help.
For those looking for ways to keep an older adult’s home safe this spring, look no further. We’ve adapted a list of important safety tasks to keep your home humming along this season (originally posted by DailyCaring here).
Our trusted Help At Your Door Handyman services offer a variety of springtime assistance. You can pick from the extensive list of help we offer, or let our staff come and assess your home for fall risks and minor repair work:
- Install grab bars (if needed) or make sure existing ones are sturdy and well-attached
- Bath mats are replaced with non-skid low profile mats
- Install a raised toilet seat or safety frame (if needed) or check that existing ones are sturdy
- Tub or shower floor is non-slip
- Automatic night lights make it easy to see at night
- Emergency contact information is clearly posted on the fridge and near the telephone
- Appliances are in good working condition and within easy reach
- Frequently used items are in easy reach
- Unnecessary appliances are put away
- Automatic night lights light the way to the bathroom
- Bedside lamp is easy to turn on and off
- Phone is easy to reach from the bed
- Bed is easy to get into and out of
- Clothes are easy to reach
- Water heater is set to a temperature that won’t scald
- All sinks and drains are in good working order
- Hallways and main floor spaces are clear of clutter
- Electrical cords are secured at the edges of rooms
- Lighting is bright and on/off switches are at every doorway, replace light bulbs as needed or switch to long-lasting LED bulbs
- Change smoke detector batteries or change to a 10-year smoke detector – or change carbon monoxide batteries
- Make sure fire extinguishers are fully charged and easily accessible
- Furniture is sturdy and in good shape – no wobbles
- Flooring is smooth and free of tripping hazards
- Hanging pictures, mirrors, wall décor, curtains or blinds to ensure that they are safely secured on walls
Outside the house
- House numbers are clearly visible from the street, night and day
- Walkways are clear and free of tripping hazards
- Railing and ramp installation and repair
- Screen repair/cleaning
- Fence repair
- Window washing
- Replacing or installing summer screens
- Minor landscaping
Help At Your Door is pleased to welcome Dawn Germscheid to the team as Finance Director.
Dawn Germscheid has more than 30 years of extensive accounting and finance experience in both private and nonprofit sectors. Her experience includes business development, financial system creation and implementation, general ledger accounting, administration, operations and all aspects of non-profit reporting and compliance.
Prior to joining Help at Your Door, Dawn worked for more than 11 years in the non-profit sector in leadership roles. These included Director of Finance and Operations at The Bridge for Youth, Finance Director Consultant for MAP for Non Profits and the Director of Finance and Administration for Wayside House. During these roles she oversaw the operation of the Accounting, Administration, Facility Management, Human Resources and IT Departments. Dawn is a graduate of Northeast Wisconsin College with a degree in Accounting. She is an active member of the Non Profit Finance Group – Twin Cities.