Volunteer Your Time

Giving the gift of your time is the greatest gift of all.

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Join our volunteer team

In 1978, our organization started with 120 volunteers. Today, we celebrate having over 850 volunteers from across Erie and surrounding counties. Volunteers are the heart of our organization and remain a crucial part of our mission today. Our volunteers provide invaluable support to our patients, families and staff.  From working special events, to providing administrative support, transportation, and meals for patients, volunteers are an integral part of the Hospice & Palliative Care community.

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Many individuals join our volunteer team because of their own personal experiences with Hospice & Palliative Care Buffalo
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Our volunteers range in age from their teens to 100, and each individual brings their own unique qualities and skills to the work they do
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We welcome all interested individuals to join our volunteer team. We will provide you with all the training you need to be successful

Our volunteer teams

Our volunteer teams consist of patient support and direct care, administrative and special events volunteers. Based on your interests and skills, we will work with you to find a volunteer role that best suits you.

Patient Support Volunteers & Direct Care Volunteers

Our patient support volunteers and direct care* volunteers work directly with our patients and families throughout Erie County by providing companion care. These volunteers support our Hospice Buffalo, Home Connections, and Essential Care for Children patients and families.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Patient Support or Direct Care Volunteer, contact Marsha Grimes at (716) 989-2018 or mgrimes@palliativecare.org

Our direct care volunteers* are individuals that have a current New York State Registered Nurse (RN) license or Home Health Aide (HHA) certification. In addition to providing companion care, these volunteers are able to provide general hands-on care.

  • Visit patients in their homes, nursing homes, and/or our inpatient unit
  • Veterans helping Veterans - We Honor Veterans
  • Provide light housekeeping or yardwork for patients
  • Nurses’ station receptionist (inpatient unit in Cheektowaga)
  • Refreshment cart (inpatient unit in Cheektowaga)
  • Birthday Brigade – deliver birthday cakes or treats to patients
  • Holiday Deliveries - deliver holiday items to patients
  • Provide patient/caregiver transportation
  • Pet Therapy (Pet Therapy certification required)
  • Hairdresser (must have current license)
  • Notary
  • Language Interpreter
  • Work with bereaved families
  • Essential Care for Children's programs: Storm Clouds & Rainbows and Camp Blue Skies
  • Life Stories: Everyone has stories to tell and memories to share. Our specially trained volunteers work directly with a patient to create an audio recording. Help patients share their life stories, memories, and messages while leaving a legacy for their loved ones.

To ensure the safety of the patients, individuals must be at least 16 years old or older, must be fully COVID-19 vaccinated, and attend volunteer orientation.

In order to ensure the safety of the patients and families you will come into contact with, we need you to complete the following steps:

Step #1: Complete a volunteer application (including names and contact information for two references).

  • After you attend orientation, we send your references a form to complete and return to our office.

Step #2: Attend new volunteer orientation (four, three-hour sessions).

  • Dates vary but generally orientation runs from 6PM to 9PM once a week for four consecutive weeks at our Como Park campus in Cheektowaga.
  • Provide proof of COVID vaccination (copy of vaccination card, Excelsior Pass not accepted).
  • Complete a form* (with your social security number) so we may run a criminal background check.
  • For Direct Care Volunteers only***: Provide a copy of a current New York State Registered Nurse (RN) license or Home Health Aide (HHA) certification.

Step #3: Provide us proof of a physical from the past 12 months.

  • We will provide you with a form that your MD/NP/PA must complete. Note: the date at the bottom of the form must be the date of your actual physical, not the date the physician completes the form.

Step #4: Schedule a meeting with our Employee Health Nurse where she will do the following:

  • Take a copy of your photo ID (current driver’s license, student ID, or passport).
  • Review your rubella and rubeola immunization records.
    • If you cannot locate your records, we can write a script for you to get bloodwork to prove you’ve had the vaccines; just send us a copy of the results
    • If you never received these, we can administer the MMR to you, free of charge
    • Review the physical form your physician completed.
    • Administer a PPD*, an injection to determine if you have tuberculosis. Within 48 to 72 hours, you must return to our Mitchell Campus to see if you are reacting to the shot.
    • Administer a drug test* via oral swab.
    • Our nurse is generally available Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:00pm but other arrangements can be made. Appointments generally take 30 minutes.

Step #5: Receive a flu shot during flu season.

  • We’ll need a copy of your flu shot paperwork. If you opt not to get one, you’ll need to wear a mask when with patients and sign a document agreeing to that.

Please note that annually you need to:

  1. Meet with our Employee Health Nurse in order to have your vitals checked and a PPD administered (15 minute appointment).
  2. Receive a flu shot OR sign a declination form and agree to wear a mask.
  3. Attend one in-person training session (120 minutes long) to ensure you continue to have the knowledge to effectively volunteer.

*If you are under 18, we do not run a background check. Also, a guardian will need to be present when you meet with our Employee Health Nurse in order to authorize the PPD and drug test.

Administrative Volunteers

Our Administrative Volunteers help support staff by assisting with administrative and clerical tasks. These volunteers can be found in various departments throughout our campus.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming an Administrative Volunteer, contact Lynsey Danat at (716) 989-2014 or ldanat@palliativecare.org.

  • West Herr Comfort Cafe
  • Greeting campus visitors
  • Phone receptionist
  • Filing and mailings

Individuals will be working on our campus, with access and exposure to confidential and organizational information. Individuals must be at least 16 years old or older, must be fully COVID-19 vaccinated, and attend volunteer orientation.

Because you will be working on our campus and will have access/exposure to confidential and organizational information, we require the following from you:

Step #1: Complete a volunteer application (including names and contact information for two references).

  • We’ll send your references a form to complete and return to our office.

Step #2: Attend new volunteer orientation (three, three-hour sessions).

  • Dates vary but generally orientation runs from 6PM to 9PM once a week for three consecutive weeks at our Como Park campus in Cheektowaga.
  • Provide proof of COVID vaccination (copy of vaccination card, Excelsior Pass not accepted).
  • Complete a form * (with your social security number) so we can run a criminal background check.
  • Bring a copy of photo ID (current driver’s license, a student ID, or passport) so that we can take a copy for our records. * If you are under 18, we do not run a background check. Also, a guardian will need to be present when you meet with our Employee Health Nurse in order to authorize the PPD and drug test.

Special Events Volunteers

Special Events Volunteers support Hospice & Palliative Care Buffalo with annual fundraising and community awareness events. Opportunities are available throughout the year, offering something for everyone and any schedule.

If you are interested in learning about becoming a Special Events Volunteer, contact Lisa Nestico at (716) 989-2360 or lnestico@palliativecare.org.

  • Spring Bouquet Sale
  • Memorial Walk
  • Memorial Ceremonies
  • Taste of Buffalo
  • Chiavetta’s BBQ
  • Share the Buffalo
  • Holiday Gift Wrapping
  • Light-A-Life Tree Ceremony
  • Gardening
  • Treasured Threads: Are you a crafter who loves to sew? We are looking for sewers assist with our Treasured Threads program. This program involves specialized Hospice volunteers creatively piecing together “Treasured Threads” of a loved one to create a tangible lasting memory. Pillows and teddy bears are our most requested items.

The nature of special events work requires that individuals must be fully COVID-19 vaccinated and our volunteer application be completed.

The nature of special events work necessitates that you complete the following:

Step #1: Complete our volunteer application.

Step #2: Provide proof of COVID vaccination (copy of vaccination card, Excelsior Pass not accepted).

Volunteer Orientation Sessions

Our orientation sessions are scheduled for the following:

Session 1: Evenings (6p – 9p), March 23, March 30, April 6, and April 13

Session 2: Days (9a – 12p), June 21, June 23, June 28, and June 30

Session 3: Evenings (6p – 9p), September 13, September 15, September 20, and September 22

Attendance at all dates listed for a session is required. Space is limited, please contact the Volunteer Office at (716) 989-2018 to RSVP for an orientation session. If you have any questions, please call the volunteer office or email volunteer@palliativecare.org.