Spotlight: Bringing Warmth to Veterans

Since 1998, Beach Cities Health District (BCHD) Care and Aid for Patients (CAPS) volunteers have been a tight-knit group of volunteers crocheting and knitting blankets for people in hospice. The blankets are provided to patients in partnership with Providence Trinity Care’s Hospice program which, over the last several years expanded to include a special initiative to celebrate South Bay veterans for their service. This year, veterans at Providence, as well as veterans in BCHD’s Care management program, received the handmade blankets. Many blankets have been lovingly created and donated by this dedicated group of volunteers.

This fall, BCHD Volunteer Services invited the entire community to knit or crochet blankets for a special blanket drive for veterans. More than 100 blankets were donated by Veterans Day. Longtime CAPS Volunteer Melba Tovar led the collection effort. Myle Schwab from Providence Trinity Care came to pick up the blankets for veterans in Providence’s hospice program and the remaining blankets were held aside for BCHD’s Care Management clients who served. Each veteran that is part of BCHD's Care Management program received a blanket and a holiday gift bag filled with household items this year.
Volunteers are at the Heart of Holiday Gift Bags

Beach Cities Health District (BCHD) has led the Holiday Gift Bag project since 1998. During the holiday season, BCHD provides bags filled with much-needed household essentials to benefit Beach Cities older adults and adults with disabilities. Thank you to our generous community members and organizations for all of their support, we couldn’t have done it without you!

On December 7, Volunteer Services and BCHD volunteers came together to assemble our 2021 Holiday Gift Bags. Next, these gifts will be hand-delivered by BCHD volunteers and first responders to 265 older adults and adults with disabilities in our Community Services Care Management program.

Pictured L-R: Dennis and Karen Heck, Sue Therrien, Karen Blanchard, Brad Angle, Alan Janson, Julie Henderson and Betsy Czinger. Thank you to all our volunteers and a special thanks to Karen Blanchard who has been the lead volunteer assisting with this beloved project this year.

Donations for Holiday Gift Bags will be accepted until December 23 and any funding received will go toward purchasing items for the 2022 project. Please visit to donate.
Volunteer Engagement Survey 2021

Each year, BCHD asks volunteers to answer our surveys so we can learn more about how volunteers are feeling about their experience! The great news is that volunteers report extremely high satisfaction rates about their involvement with BCHD. Nevertheless, the results are analyzed to see if there are any improvements we can make to enrich the volunteer experience.

Here is a link to the survey results. Within this document you will see that we did not conduct a survey in 2020 but our results remain in very high ranges amongst those volunteers who took the survey. Please see the final page of the document as well. Volunteer Services will continue working to complete the current initiatives outlined on that page and welcome your feedback at any time of the year. Please reach out to [email protected].
Farewell to Volunteer Services Kate Ekman, Purpose & Engagement Coordinator
Pictured L-R: Kate Ekman, Sogia Thach, Simrit Dugal, State of Health, 2016

Bittersweet news: Kate Ekman will be leaving the District at the end of this month. Her last day working will be December 23, 2021.

Kate came to BCHD in November of 2015 as our Purpose & Engagement Coordinator. She has been responsible for coordinating volunteer programs for the Lifespans departments and overseeing the volunteer newsletter, volunteer metrics, volunteer engagement survey and more! She has particularly been instrumental in coordinating the annual Holiday Gift Bag project and securing BCHD’s recertification as a service enterprise, demonstrating our ability to utilize volunteers strategically to achieve our mission.

As Kate makes this move to focus on her health and family, she will be supporting the National Wildlife Federation’s conservation efforts and upcoming groundbreaking on the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing. Kate leaves a legacy behind for the District’s volunteer programs and has made a lasting impression on many of us. Our volunteer programs are stronger, more efficient and collaborative under Kate’s leadership.

“Thank you Beach Cities Health District for giving me the opportunity to work with volunteers these past six years, to grow, learn and try new things all in service to my ultimate purpose: making a positive impact in the world. I will miss the volunteers so much and am grateful to have had a chance to know so many wonderful folks dedicated to service. Happy Holidays to all!” -Kate Ekman

Volunteer Services is making plans for the future and if you’ve typically corresponded with Kate, you may reach out to [email protected] for assistance for the time being.

Thank you, Kate!

Volunteers may sign a farewell message board for Kate by clicking this link.
If you’re interested in volunteering (getting back to it or taking the next step to volunteer) with BCHD, we have a COVID-19 safety protocol in place for every role. See below for what’s currently available and please stay tuned to our newsletters and website as new opportunities arise! Anyone interested is welcome to fill out our Volunteer Application at If you are or have been a BCHD volunteer or if you have questions, you’re invited to email us at [email protected].
Administrative Office Front Desk Volunteer- HIGH NEED
Our admin department is looking for volunteer help including telephone coverage, screening of staff and visitors, periodic disinfection of shared spaces, mail and package distribution, badge making, supplies inventory; assembling marketing packets and assisting with Help Desk Ticket tasks and projects. Weekly 4-hour shift commitment on a regular basis is required.
Center for Health & Fitness Front Desk Volunteer
CHF is looking for volunteer support with screening members at its check-in table downstairs, ensuring members have read and signed the new COVID-19 Code of Conduct, reviewing verbal screening questions with members, taking and recording temperature on a log sheet, assisting with cleaning equipment between reservations, and greeting members and directing them for proper gym entry and exit. Weekly commitment of 3 hours a week on a regular basis.

2021 Volunteer Hours

We are so grateful for the commitment of our community to help others. Below is a capture of time reported in 2021. The numbers below indicate vaccines administered, groceries shopped for, prescriptions picked up, calls made, Center for Health & Fitness front desk hours, committees met, administrative support, intern projects, gardens kept, and more. In November, there was a big uptick thanks to all the volunteer support for our final COVID-19 vaccination clinics! Thank you all!

January: 1,314
February: 1,551
March: 3,402
April: 3,173
May: 2,566
June: 1,391
July: 1,580
August: 1,693
September: 1,815
October: 1,767
November: 3,750

Total: 24,002
Volunteer Anniversaries

Although many of you still are not back to actively volunteering in your usual roles right now, we are endlessly grateful for your commitment. The many collective years of efforts toward a healthy beach community from our volunteer corps is truly incredible. Special shoutout to Kathy Herbers and Colleen Otash for hitting the 10-year mark and to Megan Bowers and Julie Henderson for hitting the 5-year mark! We are so glad for everyone’s support, time, and dedication.

Maud Tilk, 29
John Cable, 19
Melinda Turkolu, 19
Elaine Vandermay, 13
Patti Mahoney, 11
Kathy Herbers, 10
Colleen Otash, 10
Howard Darvey, 9
Lisa Meenan, 8
Jim Parkman, 6
Megan Bowers, 5
Julie Henderson, 5
*Official years of service in BCHD system.
Virtual Social Hour with BCHD Care Manager Charlotte Barnett
We want to provide a space for people to talk, ask questions and share their experience during COVID-19. Join us if you want to learn more about community resources or BCHD, or if you just want to connect! Open to all.

First & Third Tuesday of the Month
(January 4 & January 18)
11 a.m.  12 p.m.
Virtual Mindfulness Drop-In
Take 30 minutes to downshift and practice mindfulness techniques. The guided session will be led by Carrie Kerster a trained Beach Cities Health District instructor.
First Wednesday of the Month
(January 5)
 4:30 p.m.
Virtual Happiness Chats
This is a casual discussion group with light-hearted activities to spark conversation. Share ideas, tips, resources, jokes, quotes – anything that supports our happiness! 
Second Tuesday of the Month
(January 11)
12:30  1 p.m.
Center for Health & Fitness (CHF) Open House
Did you know you are more likely to succeed when you work out with a partner? Invite a friend to CHF's open house and start the New Year off with health and fitness! Enjoy FREE classes, tours, demos and more! 
Saturday, January 8
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
514 N. Prospect Ave. (second floor)
Redondo Beach