Volunteers welcome for Pay-It-Forward dinner

By Hailey Kurth

Pay-It-Forward House invites all of its volunteers and perspective volunteers to an appreciation soup-supper at 5 p.m. Sunday.

The Pay-It-Forward House, located at 719 Somonauk Street in Sycamore, provides rest and respite for friends and family of patients receiving medical care in any medical facilities in DeKalb County, but primarily the guests are there for patients being treated at Kindred Hospital, 225 Edward St. in Sycamore, said Jea Nae Ramela, Pay-It-Forward House executive director.

The supper will include various kinds of soup made by the volunteer board members, beverages, cookies and desserts.

Perspective volunteers are invited to attend a volunteer orientation right before the soup-supper at 4 p.m.

“It’s an opportunity to come and learn a little bit about Pay-It-Forward House, the type of guest that we serve and the various types of volunteer activities that are available,” Ramela said.

The October orientation had six perspective volunteers, said Dixie Zander, a volunteer of the house. Most attendees are in awe of the house, that it exists and what a great thing it is, Zander said.

Ramela said the volunteers assist the guests, take care of the house and garden, help with fund raising, collect data and help with food for the guests.

Zander said she is a “friendly face” volunteer, meaning she intermingles with the guests. “Friendly Face” volunteers are there to talk or listen to the guests, or help them with things, Zander said.

“I decided to give it a try and I’ve been with them going on five years now, and I just love it,” Zander said, “I have found my niche. I tell everybody. It’s very exhilarating to work there.”

Ramela said the house is staffed primarily by volunteers, and they help with anything and everything. She said the amount of work the volunteers do is equivalent to thousands of dollars a year.

“We are so dependant on our volunteers, and we have such wonderful volunteers that we try to have several volunteer appreciation events during the year. Just to thank them for all their hard work,” Ramela said.