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A A concert during Lent and the rare exhibition of a collection of religious art are to be organized to benefit the Solace House of the Ozarks.

The event, “Sights and Sounds of Solace,” is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 2 at the Joplin First United Methodist Church, 501 W. Fourth St.

This is the only time that local collector Tal Crim’s complete religious works will be exhibited in their entirety.

There are works of art in the collection that date from the 15th and 16th centuries, said Lana Nelson, a local estate agent who sits on the board of Solace House. The exhibit will be open to the public at 2 p.m. that day to anyone who does not wish to attend the concert before viewing the exhibit. Others may see it after the music program.

“Many of Tal Crim’s pieces are prints; some of them are copper,” Nelson said. “We have 18 tables and there may only be three works of art on each table, depending on their size,” she added.

Solace House is part of the national non-profit Omega Home Network to provide end-of-life care.

It is available for those who want a peaceful and family atmosphere for their last days, but who do not want to die at home or in the hospital; those who cannot afford end-of-life care in a nursing home; or spouses or families who need help or respite to care for a loved one who is living their last days of life. The house, opened two years ago, is supported by donations and fundraising.

The home’s mission states that it is “a community partnership of agencies, providers, and volunteers seeking to meet the needs of the dying and their families in the greater Joplin area.” Following a social model approach, Solace House of the Ozarks will provide a home away from home with 24-hour volunteer support for those in the last days or weeks of life.

There is no need for insurance or other financial resources to stay, although Solace House works in cooperation with a hospice of the patient’s choice.

Care at Solace House is free, said Susan Lincoln, chair of the organization’s board of directors. “Nobody ever gets a bill,” she said.

End-of-life care for a single week can cost anywhere from $1,100 to $6,300, Solace House representatives said.

Since the house opened in 2020, around 40 people have stayed there. There have been a few times the house has been temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is now operating full time, Nelson said. At a memorial service held in December, there was a remembrance with family members of the 35 people who had spent their last days at Solace House since the summer.

The rooms come with an extra bed for family members who want to stay with their loved one, Nelson said. “We try to make it like they’re at home,” she said.

The care plans are all provided by the hospices which are in charge of the patients.

“Now as things open up (from COVID-19), I think the need for volunteers is going to increase dramatically,” Lincoln said. “We need more volunteers.

Volunteer Opportunities

Most positions are filled by volunteers. There is a paid staff position needed to coordinate volunteers and organize services, such as interviewing the clinical team to determine if people referred to the home are eligible for care there. Currently, there is also a paid position for night shifts because there are not yet enough volunteers to fill the night shifts.

Some volunteers say they can work anytime. But a new scheduling system offered by the house allows them to schedule a four-hour shift every five weeks “because we find that busy people can usually schedule four hours to give time,” Lincoln said. Volunteers go through training and then mentor an experienced volunteer several times until they are comfortable working on their own.

She said the team system will assign five people to a team. These shifts are scheduled for a year in advance so a person can know months in advance when they are due to work. Volunteers can swap shifts if there is an emergency or need that prevents someone from being available to work at the scheduled time.

“Not all volunteers are part of a team, but we try to go in that direction for people who are very, very busy and have full-time jobs,” Lincoln said. “Usually if they really want to support the mission in some way, that’s a really good way to do it.”

Volunteers can also choose their missions such as personal care, food preparation, cleaning or fundraising.

There is a background check for volunteers through a state registry, Lincoln said.

Lincoln said Solace House has been described “as a gift the Joplin area gave itself, and I think that’s a good way to describe it.”