Cookies and brownies and cakes, oh my!
If you’re a sweet treat lover, chances are you’ve heard of the Tea and Talk program at Providence Care.
Volunteers have been serving up delectable desserts for patients and clients at hospital sites, for almost 30 years.
From lemon squares and banana bread, to chocolate wafers and sugar cookies, the weekly feast has all your favourite ooey gooey snacks.
And while the drool worthy spread may bring people in, volunteers like Marie-France Thornton are the real reason why Tea and Talk is such a hit.
“I call her my little fire cracker!” said Janet Hunter, Director of Volunteer Services.
“She’s small but she’s mighty and the patients love her.”
The program tickles taste buds every Tuesday afternoon in the Lakeview 2 dining room.
Thornton has been a staple with Tea and Talk since 1996.
“Everybody loves the food and drinks and that makes it special, but what we really do is entertain people,” explained Thornton.
“So we sit and talk to the patients and we become friends.”
Thornton is one of nine volunteers who help run the program.
Not only do they supply the snacks, but they also help transport patients and clients from different areas of the hospital so they can attend Tea and Talk.
“If we know that one of them has a special liking for a date square or lemon square, we make sure to have that,” said Thornton.
“And if they can’t come to Tea and Talk for whatever reason we go to their room with a small plate and we make their day.”
“The volunteers take the time to sit with all the patients,” added Hunter.
“We could have 30 patients at the program and our volunteers visit with every single one of them. Patients share their lives and stories with them because they feel so comfortable with our volunteers.”
There’s even a weekly feature dessert that veteran volunteer Yolande Connors serves.
The soon to be 95-year-old has been volunteering with Providence Care for 32 years.
“Tea and Talk is so important to the patients,” Connors shared.
“It just warms your heart. Somebody said ‘we like to come here because everybody is smiling’, so that was nice to hear.”
Volunteers not only form bonds with patients and clients, but also each other.
They’re like a sweet treat team spreading joy, and sugar, everywhere they go.
The sweet treats may bring people in, but volunteers like Marie-France Thornton are the real reason why Tea and Talk is such a popular program at Providence Care Hospital. @VolunteerCanada #NationalVolunteerWeek #NVW19 pic.twitter.com/OquCloZ9PN
— Providence Care (@providence_care) April 11, 2019
“We enjoy it as much as the patients do. It’s a good thing for us and a good thing for patients,” said Connors.
“They are top notch super ladies. All are very generous with their time and everyone has their own personality,” added Thornton.
The volunteers may have different personalities but they do have one thing in common: the desire to put smiles on patients and clients’ faces during their stay at Providence Care Hospital.
“It’s very unique volunteer work I must say, it’s very special,” Thornton beamed.
Oh and in case you’re wondering, marshmallow peanut butter squares are the most popular item volunteers serve.
Looking to give back? Join our team of volunteers and help enhance the lives of Providence Care’s patients, clients and residents.
Learn more and apply today.