BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Every day, almost 40 volunteers visit Biloxi Regional Medical Center to donate their time and talents.
One of them is Ellen Quave who has been coming here for 15 years. She enjoys helping others at the front desk, but also enjoys what it does for her own life.
"I've read so much about volunteering, it does help you stay young and active, I think it does," Quave said.
Since Ed Rodkey started volunteering in the cafeteria six years ago, it has never been cleaner or better stocked. Helping out makes him feel needed.
"Especially with the elderly people that come in and they have patients and relatives in here that I'm able to help them and feel comfortable going to the cafeteria," Rodkey said.
Not only do these volunteers give the gift of time, they also give the gift of money. The hospital auxiliary raises more than $30,000 a year to buy various items for the hospital, including some beautiful murals on the third floor of Biloxi Regional.
Director of Volunteer Services Barbara Butiro said the work these people do every day is an inspiration to the hospital's paid employees.
"Would I do this if I wasn't getting paid?" Butiro asked. "You know, it's kind of like, why do people do this? Well, it's because of what's in their hearts. And they really want to give back to what they've been able to do through the years. Some people just don't want to quit working."
And even though they work for free, it's a labor of love that makes a real difference for the hospital and its patients.
Almost all coast hospitals have volunteer programs in place. In fact, Singing River Hospital in Pascagoula is holding a training program for would-be volunteers Tuesday.