The Benefits of Volunteering

Community Non-Profits Welcome Your Time, Talents

By Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice

Everybody’s busy. That’s just a fact of modern life. But some people, in spite of their hectic schedules, still find time to give back. We call those special people volunteers.

At Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice, a not-for-profit serving Clayton residents for more than 30 years, 475 volunteers know that giving back to family, friends, and community matters. “They tell us time and again that volunteering gives them a sense of fulfillment – that they feel blessed to take away more than they give,” says Director of Volunteer Services Sally Cezo.

No matter how old you are or how much time you’d like to share, there’s a volunteer experience that will excite your interests, and match your special skills to meaningful service in our community. Here are some benefits to volunteering:

  • It’s a great way to make new friends. Working with others on a shared mission is a great way to “break-the-ice.”
  • It’s a proven way to learn new skills, build confidence, and develop professional connections. Your volunteer experiences are great resume builders, and can open doors to new opportunities.
  • It’s good for your mental and physical health. In The Healing Power of Doing Good, Allan Luks shares that volunteering can improve a person’s sense of well-being, relieve stress, decrease insomnia, build a stronger immune system, and help speed recovery. Researchers talk of “helpers’ high” – that feeling of well-being that occurs when you are doing good for others.

So, make some time to check out community organizations that would welcome your special gifts!

“We hope you’ll consider Samaritan,” says Cezo. “We require no prior experience, and provide all the training you need to feel comfortable in a variety of roles.”

Some Samaritan volunteers provide neighborly visits to patients and families; others help with office tasks. Some greet guests at The Samaritan Center at Voorhees, assist at Samaritan’s two thrift stores, or serve on a committee. Volunteers also serve as music performers or visit patients with their already-certified pet therapy dogs. “We even have a SamariTeens program for 14-17-year-olds,” says Cezo.

For more info:, or call (856) 596-1600 – We’re available 24 hours a day to help.



As you drive past the McGuinness Funeral Home on Egg Harbor Road in Sewell, the first thing you notice is the special family garden known as “Marie’s Memory Garden”, named in honor of the Founder’s Wife – Marie McGuinness – and dedicated to the surviving family members of all those who have had a need for McGuinness’ services. They also have a pet memorial garden, where family pets are remembered and honored – all as part of the holistic healing philosophy stressed by the McGuinness Funeral Home. While not necessary for the operation of a modern day funeral home in Southern New Jersey, these are a few of the special features that help make McGuinness stand apart from ordinary funeral homes.

Founded by James McGuinness and his wife Marie Schultes McGuinness in 1951, the McGuinness Funeral Home started with a single vision – to create a “caring atmosphere of unique and compassionate memorial services that would be welcoming and warm for all community members, no matter their background”. McGuinness’ children Kathy and Bill continued to run the funeral home after their parent’s passing, and today, the McGuinness team has grown – but continues to remain focused on the founder’s unique principal that prioritizes the comforts of surviving family members over the profits of unnecessary services.

According to Richard Bonczak, General Manager of the funeral home, McGuinness has been providing personalized and customizable memorial services for families throughout the greater Clayton, Washington Township and Woodbury areas for over 60 years. Bonczak, who is also a licensed funeral director and cremation specialist, joined McGuinness in August, 1998 as a member of the funeral director staff. After 20 years of serving the needs of area families through McGuinness, he takes his role as a family advisor, counselor and chief comforter as seriously and personally as he does his role of raising his two children. Bonczak and his wife Judi live in Mt. Ephraim, and he considers his role at McGuinness to be much more than a job – it is a calling – to “help families in their greatest time of need”.

Working closely along side Bonczak is Elisha Elliott, Community Outreach and Aftercare Coordinator. Her job is a unique one. While not a licensed funeral director, Elliott’s role is sometimes more critical than that of a director. She tends to the personal and emotional needs of the bereaved. “I do not sell funeral services, coordinate church services, burial details or transportation – I help care for the needs of families”, she said, “and we do so for as long as the families need grief support from our professionals”. We met with Elisha as she was putting the final touches on that week’s “Tea at Ten on Tuesday” program, which offers recently bereaved family members an opportunity to gather for tea, to share experiences and support, and learn from professionals how to deal with the complexities that sometimes follow the loss of a loved one. McGuinness also offers a “Butter Fly Release” – a memorial service dedicated to celebrating the lives of those who have been lost, culminating in the release of butterflies, provided to families by Elliott and the McGuinness staff.

“McGuinness offers something else that is unique to any funeral homes in the area”, Elliott said. It’s called “ShareLife”. ShareLife is a highly personalized memorial service that allows the bereaved an opportunity to recreate the amazing story of their loved one in a room of remembrance, devoted specifically to their unique needs. The ShareLife experience starts with a projection of special scenes and photos which showcase moments of your loved one’s life, allowing family and friends to appreciate and reflect on their best memories together. These memories, partnered with a favorite song, soothing scents, and sound effects to enhance the memorial experience, help family members and friends to celebrate and remember the good times shared. “It’s not one thing, it’s everything that we do to make your loved one’s celebration of life personal and memorable”, Elliott said. “We believe that your loved one was a unique person – so it’s a way to make sure that their memorial service just as special.”

For more information about the personalized services available through McGuinness Funeral Home, visit McGuinness at, or contact Elisha Elliott at (856) 582-3800. McGuinness is located at 573 Egg Harbor Road, Washington Township, Sewell.

Updated February 5, 2019 

This section is dedicated to remembering Clayton residents and their beloved family members who have passed during the preceding month, as well as to all those who departed and are missed and remembered by their surviving loved ones.

We will run last month’s obituary information when provided by local families and funeral homes at no cost to the survivors.

We also offer Memorial ads at a nominal cost, so family members and organizations wishing to remember the life and passing of someone special can do so. Contact us for more information at 856 243 2499.

Information about the passing of Clayton’s active and veteran military persons will be reported as a service to them, their families and our nation – always, at no cost. Photos can also be included if provided by family members. Photos should be in jpg format and no  less than 200 dpi. Photos will be presented in black and white format only.