Members of the Peace Arch Hospital Auxiliary Society have committed to raising more than $1 million for White Rock’s hospital this year – but the ongoing pandemic isn’t making it easy.
“It’s a struggle right now for all charities, nobody’s been able to do any fundraising,” Kathy McIntyre, a member of the auxiliary’s Kay Hogg Goodwill Group, said this week, in discussing plans for an upcoming event.
“The Peace Arch Hospital Auxiliary has cancelled its golf tournament. We had a dinner scheduled for Belle’s Restaurant, it’s been cancelled. And, significantly, our thrift shop has been closed now for two months. And it truly is our primary source of revenue. We really depend on that income to meet our financial commitments.”
PAHAS has been contributing to the hospital for more than 70 years, after forming in 1948 to raise funds for its construction. Since then, its members have raised some $15 million – a contribution honoured last fall with the installation of a sculpture in the hospital’s McCracken Courtyard.
Among other things, funds have supported the purchase of much state-of-the-art equipment, including the 2008 purchase of the hospital’s magnetic resonance imaging machine (MRI). More recently, the auxiliary committed $1.5 million – $500,000 in each of three years – towards the facility’s new surgical suite.
The Superfluity Shop – hoped to reopen at the end of May – alone typically raises around $600,000 annually towards the auxiliary’s commitments. Other funds are raised through the hospital gift shop, as well as through smaller events such as linen sales that are planned and organized by each of the approximately 10 groups within the auxiliary.
McIntyre said the majority of those events are typically held in the spring and fall, so restrictions put in place due to COVID-19 have had a significant impact.
“We don’t usually do a lot in January and February, and then this hit in March.”
Channelling their creative minds, McIntyre said members of the Kay Hogg Goodwill Group have found a way to continue with at least one of their annual fundraisers, a meat sale, through implementing some modifications.
Heading into its fifth year, the June 13 Meat and More sale will again offer meat and baked goods from Neufeld Farms, McIntyre said. But this year, the order pickups will be done in a drive-thru fashion, to ensure no contact between auxiliary members and those picking up.
“So we’ll have their orders ready, slow the car down, we’ll put the order in the back and away you go,” McIntyre explained.
Auxiliary volunteers will also be wearing face shields – donated by Surrey’s Vital Manufacturing Inc. – on pick-up day, she added.
The sale usually raises around $3,000, but McIntyre said it’s hoped it will generate even more this time, “because so many other events have been cancelled.”
Products on the menu range from chicken breasts and skewers to steaks, burgers and pies.
“It’s a great selection,” McIntyre said. “And (Neufeld Farms officials) have assured us none of their products come from a COVID-affected facility.”
Those who place orders – the deadline to do so is June 2 – will also have the opportunity to help out another charity, by rounding up their purchase total, said McIntyre. Any extra amount will be donated to Sources White Rock/South Surrey Food Bank.