Wrapping Up Holiday Memories
For Donna Faulkner, volunteering at Hospice by the Bay started out as way to serve her community, then became a unique opportunity to instill a tradition of service in her young son, Todd.
In 1988, when her mother fell ill with lung cancer at age 71, the family turned to Hospice of Marin for care. When she passed away six months later, Donna felt a need to give back to the organization that had meant so much during her mother’s terminal illness.
She became a Hospice Volunteer. Tapping into skills learned in her first paid job — as a Macy’s gift wrapper — she was there at the beginning of Hospice by the Bay’s 25-year partnership with the Corte Madera Town Center, providing free holiday gift wrapping for Town Center patrons.
Every year since 1989, she has used colorful paper and shiny ribbon provided by the Town Center — accompanied by a smile all her own — to reach out to the community and spread the word of Hospice by the Bay’s compassionate end-of-life care. She has also volunteered at the Hospice Hodgepodge Thrift Shop in San Rafael and made regular deliveries of home-baked cookies to Hospice’s grief support groups for children.
Naturally, she brought her six year old son, Todd, to many of her volunteer activities. Following his mother’s example, he was eager to help. At the gift-wrapping desk, he was given the very important job of asking customers which color bow they wanted. And when one customer handed him a $100 donation to hospice, Donna made sure that he understood the significance of the gift. As Todd got older, he became an official volunteer himself, until 2011, when the arrival of a new baby meant his staying home for the holidays. But Donna expects him to be joining her again someday.
You may run into Donna at the Town Center this year, or at Book Passage in Corte Madera, where she also wraps purchases and spreads holiday cheer. If you do, ask her about the time she had to figure out how to wrap a Big Wheels trike, or about her recipe for frosted chocolate chip cookies.
When asked what drives her to volunteer, Donna says simply that it gives her “…great pleasure to give back to hospice.” We at Hospice by the Bay are always grateful for the many gifts of time and talent that our dedicated volunteers bring. If you would like to join Hospice by the Bay’s volunteer crew, please visit our Volunteers page.