ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A Stateline non-profit that helps feed the area’s homeless gets a helping hand themselves from aspiring nurses. Recipients and participants are calling the program a win-win.
Typically, you would see more than one volunteer in the donations room at Carpenter’s Place but the COVID-19 pandemic has created a new set of challenges for the non-profit.
“One of the adjustments we’ve had to make with the COVID restrictions was limiting the amount of people in the building. So, of course, that meant eliminating our usual volunteer staff,” said Kay Larrick, the executive director for Carpenter’s Place.
“Probably 20 to 30 volunteers when we include those who came in to serve breakfast and lunch do laundry do office work so having that not possible anymore really made a big difference here,” she added.
One partnership that has benefitted the non-profit is with Northern Illinois University School of Nursing.
Nandini Patel is a nursing student volunteer. She says hands-on experiences like this one are beneficial.
“I guess is really essential because when we become nurses we aren’t going to be doing anything on the computer so I guess it gives us the opportunity to interact with people, regardless if there’s a pandemic or not,” said Patel.
“Our guests really enjoy and appreciate having people from the community here. It’s just a wonderful support system for our guests and for our staff. Yes, we love having volunteers here,” explained Larrick.
I think just having that personal connection with people and actually doing the work and interacting with people makes you feel comfortable with it so once you become a nurse you won’t struggle,” Patel added.