Shiawassee County Hospice House saved from closure, works toward stable future

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 7:35 PM EDT
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SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - Almost two months ago, Hospice House of Shiawassee County was facing possible closure because of a lack of volunteers and little to no funding coming in.

After ABC12 profiled their problems in late April, the nonprofit, faith-based service has been inundated with help and is on track to become more financially stable.

Jan Sherrard pours her heart and soul into helping families dealing with loved ones at the end of life. She’s the director of Hospice House in Shiawassee County, a registered nurse and tired at 72 years old.

“Some weeks, I was facing seven 12-hour days and I just couldn’t do that. So in March I told the staff they had to work eight hours because I couldn’t do eight 12-hour shifts,” Sherrard said.

She knew if she couldn’t get the right amount of volunteers and necessary funding to continue operating, she would have to close the doors later this summer. The community answered for call for help.

“We have four RNs interested in helping out, at least two of them have been very consistent in that time and then we had some CNAs,” Sherrard said.

With the groundskeeping and auxiliary volunteers, she has at least 10 to 15 volunteers now. She had none two months ago.

Her call for help also yielded generous community support of at least $22,000 in donations.

“It’s not just a hospice house, it’s a home,” said Pastor John Walworth, the Hospice House board president.

He said many people simply can’t afford traditional hospice services, which is why it’s so crucial the Shiawassee County house stays open.

Because of the increase in volunteers and donations, Walworth and other board members like Pastor Jason Georges, who just became part of the board, are working on a long-term business plan that will keep the house open and allow Sherrard to finally retire.

“It was just the right thing to do to come alongside and to help -- not only to help her but to also have this thing available for the community,” Georges said.

Hospice House of Shiawassee County is always looking for volunteers. Click here for more information about how to get involved.

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