Moving Forward Despite the Pandemic

Sep 14, 2021 | Newsletter

In Prince George – Since they couldn’t work inside, they worked outside!!

In Chilliwack

As of March 2020 our volunteering programs at Chilliwack General Hospital were suspended and are not up and running as yet, however some of our members are volunteering in IV therapy and way finding now.

Many of our members are volunteering at the Covid vaccination clinics. Our Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shoppe has been open since June 2020 after the closing due to Covid-19 although at a diminished capacity due to lack of volunteers again because of Covid. We have a few more members returning to the Shoppe now so we are hopeful that we can open up a few more days a week. Last year we were asked to make drawstring bags for nurses so they could put their contaminated uniforms in them and then throw the bag directly into the washer. We had donated sheets so we distributed them to many of our members to sew into bags. This project lasted several months and we supplied hundreds of bags.

We celebrated Auxiliary Day in May 2020 and 2021 with beautiful posters made by Karen Holden and a plant give away to one of the hospital staff. We managed to keep our Executive meetings running and finally had an AGM in June 2021. There was a fairly good turn out of members. We held it outdoors and thankfully had a nice day.

We had an interview with our Mayor and Trevor McDonald, director of Chilliwack BIA to promote businesses on Main Street where our Thrift Shoppe is located. A short video was done for Facebook promoting our Shoppe. Currently we are working on our raffle to raise money for the hospital. Our community was very generous with their donations this year so we are hoping for a very successful raffle.

In Ladysmith – Thrift Shop Renovations

Sidelined But Not Defeated in Squamish

By Carolynn Robertson, Secretary, Squamish General Hospital Auxiliary Society

March 2020 saw all the activities of the Squamish General Hospital Auxiliary grind to a sudden stop because of Covid 19. The Gift Shop closed and all meetings and activities were suspended. Julie Erb, the Auxiliary’s President, carefully steered our organization through the pandemic so that it could continue to raise much needed funds for the Squamish General Hospital.

In July 2020, Vancouver Coastal Health gave the Auxiliary permission to reopen the Gift Shop provided the Shop follow strict protocols established by health officials. Hospital management was very supportive in helping the Gift Shop to reopen. The community, staff and patients appreciate that the Shop is open even though we are operating under reduced hours (Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm) because of a shortage of volunteers. In June 2021, residents of Hilltop House welcomed the resumption of the cart service of clothing, toiletries and candy.

Instead of our usual Christmas bazaar we held a “Christmas in October” mini bazaar in 2020 that was held outdoors in front of the Squamish General Hospital. It was such a success that it was followed up by a White Elephant and Mini Bazaar sale in May of this year. Planning is now underway for a regular bazaar this coming November. To continue to raise money the Auxiliary had a modified sale of raffle tickets in the fall of 2020. Not wanting to expose our members to Covid 19, members only sold tickets to family members and people in their individual bubbles. This spring we were allowed to sell raffle tickets in front of grocery stores and have received permission to sell tickets inside the stores this fall.

During the pandemic the Auxiliary continued to apply for grants to help with its work. In 2021, Walmart Canada donated $1,000 which was used towards the ceiling lifts in two patient rooms. A similar grant was received in 2020. In 2021, the Woodfibre LNG Community Grant of $1,000 enabled the Auxiliary to purchase mannequins for CPR. In 2020, the Canadian Medical Association gave a grant of $23,625.00 for a ramp to the new Ambulatory Care Location. The Auxiliary’s fund-raising efforts enabled it to purchase other items for the Hospital: Zoll Batteries for the Emergency Room, signage throughout the Hospital, money towards a Glide Scope and a Telemetry System, lab equipment, cushions for chemo chairs and a fridge to store breast milk for Squamish babies.

Accomplishments of Mission Health Care Auxiliary During the Pandemic

Although we have all gone through over a year of challenges and set backs, Mission Health Care Auxiliary has fared quite well. Our largest set back was that we had to cancel all of our 100th Anniversary celebrations for 2020.

Our Thrift store (The Cottage) was closed for three months, but we were still able to honour our commitments to the Hospital Foundation, and even add one more donation into the mix.

We were able to provide funds to Fraser Health Care Foundation, in the amount of up to $65,000 to purchase a bus for The Residents in Mission (TRIM) in partnership with Abbotsford who will be providing the other half of the funds.

The Auxiliary also managed to donate to the Foundation its second installment of $100,000 towards the cost of updating the medical equipment in the lab of the Mission Memorial Hospital. To date we have donated $250,000 of our $500,000, 5 year commitment. This year the lab was re-named the Mission Health Care Auxiliary Society Lab in our honour, something we are very proud of.

The Auxiliary is now happily in the process of re-establishing our services at the hospital and exploring a new executive structure, which we hope will solve the problem of not having volunteers step up and run for executive positions. This is a work in-progress.

New Emergency Ward Completed Amid Pandemic in Langley

In May 2021 the new Emergency Department at the Langley Memorial Hospital opened. There was no fanfare or opening celebration because of Covid-19 but nonetheless it was an exciting date.In June 2017 our Auxiliary membership voted to pledge 1.5 million dollars to the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation which was raising 10-11 million dollars towards the 30 million+ cost of the new Emergency Department. Our commitment would be $215,000.00 over a 7 year period.

Over the past 3.5 years our auxiliary membership, along with the rest of the Langley community, eagerly watched the construction of this new addition to the hospital. During 2020 our gift shop at the hospital was closed for 7.5 months and our thrift shop, Penny Pincher was closed for 2.5 months. Despite the closures and reduction in hours, we were still able to meet our pledge target for the year. In 2021, we have already saved the necessary $215,000.00 plus just pledged another $147,000.00 in hospital equipment.

Our former Volunteer Resource Coordinator, Carolyn Thornton described the Emergency Department in the following words: “The expanded emergency department will increase patient treatment bays from 31 to 49 and the number of trauma bays will increase from one to two. Additionally, the new Emergency Department will include a separate pediatric waiting area for children and a new entrance that will separate walk -in patients from those patients arriving by ambulance. A new dedicated, separate treatment area has also been built for patients with mental health and substance use needs. To minimize the risk of infection, additional handwashing stations, utility rooms, a decontamination area and an isolation room have also been added.” 15 In acknowledgement of the 1.5 million dollar pledge the plaque pictured below is located in the Family Arrival Lounge in the Emergency Department and notes that our pledge has supported the construction of the Lounge.

Kootenay Boundary Auxiliaries raise funds for a new Emergency Department

Dear Emergency Department Campaign Donors

On behalf of the KBRH Health Foundation board and staff, thank you for your generous support for the Emergency Department Campaign. We are so pleased to share the news of your donation on the beautiful donor wall that now resides in the Emergency Department waiting room at KBRH. Your donations are part of an important legacy of support for our regional healthcare.

Below, you will find our link to the Emergency Department Campaign Virtual Donor Wall Ceremony. Please feel free to forward this to your friends and family as you see fit. Thank you again for your generous support for patient care in our region.

Please visit the link to see our virtual ceremony: YouTube/Emergency Department Donor Wall Ceremony 2021

Donor Wall at the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

These Auxiliaries helped make it happen!!



Shelley Grainger and Karen Biddlecombe of the Halfmoon Bay Branch of the Sunshine Coast Healthcare Auxiliary recently delivered cupcakes to the volunteer firefighters of Halfmoon Bay in appreciation of their commitment and dedication to the community. The firefighters were called out twice in the last couple of weeks to extinguish road-side fires in the area. Their quick response and firefighting skills prevented the fires from getting out of control. The firefighters meet every Wednesday to train so that they are ready for any situation. Our community feels that much safer knowing that help is out there should we ever need it. Thank-you to these wonderful volunteers!


Abbotsford Auxiliary has been very quiet over the past year as we could not have regular meeting, AGM, installation of officers or awarding of service pins. We did hold AGM on line and the executive were re-elected for 1 more year. (To make things simple).  As president, I kept our membership up to date with emails on a regular basis. We did have a few executive meeting, according to FH guidelines. So many were reluctant to attend even those.

On August 18th I was given the green light to re-open the Gift Shop with very limited hours and staff. We adhered to sanitizing guidelines and safety precautions. So many said they were not coming back to work in shop until double vaccine given and they felt safe to do so.

Since then we have had a few more members agree to come in for the odd shift so we expanded our hours to Monday to Friday.

This is our only means of raising funds at the moment and I have to say that business is very slow with low sales but we are hanging in there. One of the big things is losing our wholesaler for confectionary but we are supplementing with goods from Costco.

I think one of our highlights will be purchasing half a bus, along with Mission buying the other half so Cottage Worthington and TRIM can take their residents on little trips. Total cost of bus $110,000.00.

On the up beat we are resuming our regular meeting in September with October being the biggie…. Installation of executive and awarding service pins with a very simple social within guidelines. Looking forward to the Annual Golf tournament fund raiser in September, at which we volunteer and also sponsor the boxed breakfast for $2,500.00.

Please, watch for invitation for Monday October 18th.

Maggie Gardiner Abbotsford
A book is like a hospital for the mind!

St. Bartholomew’s Healthcare Auxiliary

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