Volunteer Caregivers Assist Others and Earn Benefits

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

November is National Family Caregiver’s month—a time dedicated to recognizing all the hard work and support that family caregivers offer to their friends and loved ones. Caregiving can be difficult, and caregivers often need a much-deserved break. Even just a few hours alone can make a big difference.

Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota is seeking Caregiver Support AmeriCorps volunteers to provide family caregivers this much-needed break to relax, re-charge, practice self-care and reduce isolation.

Debra Doonan understands the importance of volunteering and the positive impact it can have on the older adults she supports.

“Volunteering gives me the satisfaction of assisting in giving family caregivers respite and I see the difference it makes in both the caregiver and care receiver’s lives,” Doonan said.

Respite volunteers also offer older adults more opportunities to maintain social connections, an important aspect of healthy aging that can become difficult as people experience dementia or mobility limitations.

People who care for loved ones rely on local volunteers like Doonan to provide this life-changing support. Doonan also recognizes the impact that volunteering has on her own life.

“I’m smiling more, and it has raises both my spirits and the spirits of the individuals I support,” she added. “Volunteering is fun, and it makes a difference. I get to meet new people and give back to my community.”

Currently, due to COVID-19, visits are being done virtually through phone and video chat with limited in-person visits. Through a partnership with AmeriCorps, volunteers earn a monthly living allowance ranging from $150 to $250 and can earn a $1,300 to $1,600 education grant annually, which they can use for tuition and student loans. Those who meet hourly requirements over four years can earn a total of up to $18,400. Volunteers older than 55 can also put these grants toward a child or grandchild’s education fund.

Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota provides volunteers with training and requires no prior experience. To qualify, volunteers must be at least 17 years old, with availability each week and a reliable vehicle. They also must pass a routine background check.

The statewide organization serves all Minnesotans and welcomes volunteers from different faiths, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations and stages in life to inquire. To learn more or to get started, please contact Program Director Tara Giese at 866.787.9802, or visit Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota also offers additional support for family caregivers. To view all the Caregiver Support & Respite Service offerings, visit