GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A local hospice nonprofit was recently given the opportunity to expand its pet visitor and veteran to veteran volunteer programs but they’re having difficulty finding volunteers to fill the need.

“Volunteers are such a large part of our care for patients at Emmanuel,” said Holly Salas, volunteer coordinator at Emmanuel Hospice.

She said there are different ways to volunteer, including bringing your pets or a veteran-to-veteran program.

“Our veteran-to-veteran program … just so wonderful to have that engaging conversation with somebody who’s been through that, maybe a family member doesn’t have anyone to engage with about that. Maybe they’ve never talked about it and they’re kind of coming-to toward the end of their life. It’s really important for them to have someone to share that with,” said Salas.

She said since Emmanuel serves a 50-mile radius, it is looking for volunteers especially north of Grand Rapids and near the lakeshore like Sparta, Rockford, Grand Haven and Holland.

“It’s really important for (hospice patients) to have someone just spending time with them and engaging with them and … just giving them their sense of humanity back to them during their final weeks, months, years of their lives,” said Salas. “Just spending time with them and making them feel like they’re supported and they’re not alone in their journey.”

You can sign up to volunteer at the Emmanuel Hospice website.