Ladysmith Healthcare Auxiliary gift shop manager, Jill Mennie (left) and LHA volunteer, Pauline Gilbert, work a shift at the gift shop, located in the Ladysmith Community Health Centre. (Bonnie Weisz photo)

More than 35,000 hours and a healthy contribution to Ladysmith

Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary donated more than $263,000 to the community in 2018

Bonnie Weisz Special to the Chronicle

When it comes to the health and welfare of Ladysmith and its citizens, few are making a healthier contribution than the Ladysmith Healthcare Auxiliary.

Auxiliary volunteers — 234 0f them — donated a total of 35,173 hours of work last year and donated $263,259, including $16,000 in student awards, to support and inspire health and wellness related activities.

Donations approved by the Auxiliary in 2018 included:

  • $31,710 to the Ladysmith Community Health Centre;
  • $125,000 to the Cowichan Hospice Society;
  • $22,000 to Ladysmith Fire & Rescue;
  • $30,000 to the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association (LRCA);
  • $24,408 to BC Children’s Hospital; and
  • $10,000 to Ladysmith Family and Friends (LaFF).

Other recipients of LHA funds included all three schools in Ladysmith, Camp Goodtimes, Cowichan Valley Therapeutic Riding, and the Nanaimo/Ladysmith Schools Foundation.

Since its inception over 100 years ago, the LHA has donated over $5-million toward health and wellness equipment, programs and services benefitting local residents.

Ladysmith Healthcare Auxiliary’s members include approximately 140 volunteers who work at the Thrift Store on 1st Avenue. Others work providing services for Meals-on-Wheels, staffing the Auxiliary’s Gift Shop, helping the Oyster Harbour Seniors Community, and maintaining the Memorial Gardens located behind the Ladysmith Health Centre.

Many others volunteer their time to craft handmade items for sale in the Gift Shop and to make Comfort Pillows for recent mastectomy patients, or making baby layettes for new moms.

Forty new members signed up in 2018, including five junior members. Youth volunteers and junior members are proving that younger generations have amazing potential to give back to their community. Together youth volunteers and junior members are eligible for financial awards to further their education in health-related fields.

The Auxiliary’s Gift Shop had its best year ever in 2018, adding over $10,000 to the pool of funds available for donations. Sixty sets of Comfort Pillows were delivered to the Nanaimo Regional Hospital, and 74 baby layettes were given out to new Ladysmith moms, including several to moms of twins.

Much excitement is brewing over a planned renovation and expansion of the Thrift Store, the engine that fuels the work of the Ladysmith Healthcare Auxiliary.

The design continued to be refined throughout last year. Exterior finishes were selected, and after discussions with the Town, yellow was selected as the main exterior colour. In October, the town rezoned the residential lot next door to commercial, a necessary step before building can begin. A development permit application will go to council this month. Assuming the permit is granted, work could begin this year.

The Ladysmith Healthcare Auxiliary is a member of the BC Association of Healthcare Auxiliaries, which was established in 1945 to promote education, leadership, effective communication, and high standards of performance as key factors in member auxiliaries’ success.

In 2016, BCAHA member auxiliaries (including adult and youth members) devoted 1,255,610 volunteer hours province-wide and donated just under $8-million to purchase much needed healthcare equipment at the local level, and to enhance the care and comfort of patients and their families. In addition $241,340 went to bursaries for youth.

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