The Unexpected Benefits of Volunteering

EveryStep volunteer Rita McDonald finds friendship and fulfillment

A lifelong member of the Winterset community, Rita McDonald is also a part of the EveryStep family. Rita volunteers with the EveryStep Hospice team in Winterset, visiting with patients at their homes and care facilities.

After being asked to volunteer with EveryStep for a few years, Rita decided the time was right two years ago and says one of the unexpected benefits of volunteering is the relationships she’s built. “Volunteering has put several new friends into my life — not only clients, but family members, other EveryStep volunteers and employees. Each person is unique and they all fill my heart. This experience has given me a lot of self-worth.”

Rita hopes her visits bring patients and families a new face and a welcome break in their day. “I have been teaching beginning crochet to a few people in a care facility, and I sometimes bring cookies or flowers,” says Rita. “One gentleman loved dogs, so I took each of my two dogs to visit him, separately.  I think his whole body smiled.” Linda also helps with office work one day each month.

Born and raised in Winterset, Rita and her husband have been married 52 years with four grown children, three granddaughters and two dogs. She worked in a local physicians’ clinic as an L.P.N for 14 years, then at the Madison County Memorial Hospital for over 25 years in surgery and materials management.

Learn More About Volunteering with EveryStep

In her free time, Rita loves to cook and bake goodies for others. Since retirement, she crochets, enjoys time with family and friends, and has recently taken up gardening. Rita says volunteering with EveryStep and another local organization fits easily into her schedule. “I would definitely encourage others to volunteer.  It can take only a very short amount of your time, or you can fill it up as much as you like.”

EveryStep has a variety of volunteer needs across Iowa. For more information, visit

If you or someone you know is struggling to find the support they need, please contact EveryStep at 515-558-9946 or complete the commitment-free, confidential “Find Care” form on EveryStep’s website at EveryStep staff will follow up with a phone call to answer your questions and provide assistance.