Calling all volunteers: The Bean needs your help

BARRY’S BAY – A small coffee kiosk is transforming the atmosphere inside the waiting room at St. Francis Memorial Hospital.

Rather than being a tedious place where people dread to be, the waiting room is becoming a social hub – bustling with activity, ever since The Bean’s inception.

The kiosk offers fresh, locally made coffee and treats to visitors. A portion of the money raised is donated back to the St. Francis Valley Healthcare Foundation (SFVHF).

Volunteers take turns throughout the week operating The Bean. Dan Conway is one of them.

“It’s fun,” he said. “For me, I see so many people from the Killaloe area that I hadn’t seen since I retired.”

Conway said he also enjoys the job because he it is a nice way to interact and catch up with people. Plus, he sees the difference The Bean is making in the lives of patients and their families.

“A lot of the people that come in for appointments have to fast, so when they get out, the first thing they want is a muffin or a coffee,” he said. “It’s nice and it’s good for the hospital.”

He has noticed a shift in the atmosphere when The Bean opens in the waiting room. People get their snacks and coffee, and begin chatting with one another.

“It makes the waiting go by faster,” Conway added.

Clifford Olsen, a regular customer of The Bean, agreed. The Killaloe resident has been driving for the Barry’s Bay and Area Senior Citizens Home Support for seven years now.

“So I have been coming up here quite a bit,” he said.

During this time, he has spent a lot of time in the waiting room. The Bean allows him to socialize with not only the volunteers, but other customers as well.

Get your March 18, 2015 edition of The Valley Gazette to read the full story.