The Trail Hospital Auxiliary is asking the community to join their cause after losing half its volunteer base to their own health afflictions.
Less helping hands has forced the society to reduce store hours and scramble to finish a laundry list of daily volunteer tasks at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH).
Closing the popular lobby shop with no one to man the till, is denting the fundraising margin for the first time in group’s 72-year patient care and comfort mandate.
“There are slots that people have left and we weren’t able to replace them” says auxiliary president Allana Ferro.
Historically, operation hours are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and from noon until 4 p.m. weekends.
“So what we are doing is putting a note on the door saying we are closed until the next person comes in,” she explained. “But we just haven’t found anyone to fill those spots.”
It’s not just the gift shop service that is suffering. It’s also all the other duties like portering, manning the information desk and TV service, delivering mail, and rolling the candy confectionary floor-to-floor.
“We had one lady who did the candy cart for 55 years,” said Ferro. “But she’s 97 now and can now longer drive. It was hard for her not to be doing it anymore, and we haven’t found a replacement.”
Since 1943 Trail auxiliary members have been providing comfort measures to the infirm, beginning in city’s old hospital on Victoria Street.
Prior to the incorporation of the KBRH Health Foundation in 1988, records of donations are scattered, says Ferro, adding members probably purchased whatever was needed at the time.
In the last 27 years, however, the Trail group has raised $924,000. All dollars stay at the regional hospital for patient care and comfort, Ferro added.
“We don’t give our money to any outside organizations, our mandate is this facility.”
Just this year, auxiliary members handed over $45,000 to the foundation’s current $400,000 urology campaign. Another $15,000 pledge will be contributed to that drive at year end.
Additionally, the group has given about $5,000 for upkeep of the hospital gardens and, each year, a $1,000 bursary is given to a Grade 12 J.L. Crowe student committed to studies in medicine.
“We also have a youth volunteer program,” said Ferro. “These volunteers certainly are looked upon favourable for the scholarship, if they are continuing in an aspect of the medical field.”
Age nor gender matter, the auxiliary welcomes anyone who will commit a few hours each week.
“All we are asking is if people are willing to donate their time at two hours per week,” she said. “Health care has always been front and centre in our community and I think if we didn’t have the auxiliary for this facility, people would be spending a lot of dollars and time going elsewhere for their health care.”
Volunteers can pick up an application form, which includes consent to a criminal record check (no cost) at the gift shop or by calling Ferro at 250.368.8391.