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Volunteering “to go”
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Volunteering “to go”

By Jessica Pickens on November 18, 2019

The holiday season isn't just about receiving gifts, it's about giving back. And one of the most valuable things you can give someone is your time.

Volunteering for Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System requires a time commitment, but it can be incredibly rewarding.

From helping guide patients through a maze of hospital hallways to wrapping presents for the pediatric Christmas party, volunteers at Spartanburg Regional give more than 20,000 hours of their time each year.

  • In 2019, the volunteer program contributed $1,020,480.85 in savings to the system.
  • Since 2008, volunteers at Pelham Medical Center have contributed more than $1 million worth of volunteer hours.

Prospective Spartanburg Regional volunteers take several steps before they can begin. The six-week onboarding schedule includes:

  • Submitting an application
  • Completing a health assessment, which includes a drug and tuberculous screening
  • Attending a scheduled orientation

Volunteers also must be 18 and older, due to the sensitivity of health care.

“To volunteer with any of Spartanburg Regional's facilities is a commitment,” said Manager of Volunteer Services and Gift Shop Jill Dugaw. “The onboarding process is rigorous, and a considerable commitment is required.”

Volunteer placement depends on the need for help in various locations throughout the organization.

Many community members want to give back to Spartanburg Regional but may not fit the criteria.

“As we receive increased requests from colleges, teenagers and church groups, we are trying to determine volunteer opportunities so that more short-term projects can be included,” Dugaw said.

Service “to go”

When you think of “to go,” you may be thinking of a food order you just phoned in, but this is a new volunteer effort Dugaw has created — service “to go.”

“This program is where people can do their volunteer work from home, but still benefit our patients,” Dugaw said.

These “to go” projects include assembling toiletry bags for those in need or making fidget quilts for elderly patients. Once completed at home, these materials are then donated to volunteer services.


Did you know that 1 in 5 teddy bears have never been washed? Twenty-five percent of used teddy bears have bacteria linked to… well, not washing your hands after going to the bathroom.

Volunteer services appreciates donations, but for reasons like these, they ask for all items to be new. All donated items must be delivered to volunteer services.

“We do not permit delivering items to patient rooms, because of privacy and infection prevention concerns,” Dugaw said.

Other new items that can be donated to volunteer services include:

  • Coloring books and crayons
  • New toys in their original packaging
  • Books
  • New clothing and undergarments
  • Shelf stable food that does not need a can opener
  • Toiletry items 

Any monetary gifts should be directed to the Spartanburg Regional Foundation.

“Although all volunteers need to be 18, those younger can help in other ways,” Dugaw said. “Younger volunteers start a collection drive for goods and bring them to the hospital.”

Items not accepted by volunteer services include:

  • Used clothing
  • Used toys
  • Hot food
  • Linens
  • Over-the-counter medication
  • Offensive or inappropriate materials
  • Medical equipment

Lifting your voice

Did you know music can reduce stress and anxiety and improve your mood?

Several people like to donate their time through music. Performance groups, including those under 18, can sing or play musical instruments at healthcare system campuses.

However, musical groups must first receive permission to perform in designated areas. Contact volunteer services or Healing Arts.

While spiritualism and prayer can also bring comfort, due to patient privacy, prayer groups are not permitted. Spartanburg Regional's on-staff chaplains are available to patients, families and visitors for any spiritual support.

How do I get started?

To become a Spartanburg Regional volunteer, fill out an application for one of the hospital locations.

If you have questions about how to donate, call 864-560-6000 and ask for volunteer services.