A volunteer organization that has helped raise funds at Kootenay Lake Hospital in Nelson, British Columbia for more than 90 years has been forced to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Kootenay Lake Hospital Auxiliary has been in business since 1931, with volunteers raising an average of $ 40,000 per year by performing tasks such as managing the hospital’s gift shop and gardens, sale of pastries and sweepstakes; and maintenance of the hospital’s ATM and televisions.
Despite surviving the Great Depression and World War II, the attendant was unable to survive the pandemic after part of the Kootenay Lake hospital was converted to a COVID testing clinic, immediately shutting down the gift shop.
It was also becoming much more difficult for volunteers, most of whom were seniors, to spend their time in the hospital, according to Marla Olson, president of the auxiliary.
âSome of them have been volunteering for over 40 years, so it’s really hard to find volunteers,â she told CBC host Chris Walker. Dawn South.
“We’re not happy. I just think, you know, even if we could open, say tomorrow, I think it would be difficult to staff our gift shop and run all of our programs.”
Olson says the group has received supportive emails from retired nurses and former hospital patients since announcing its final disbandment.
She says her favorite memory from the Auxiliary was seeing women on their ’90s staff at the gift shop.
The organization is still looking to sell some of its remaining stock, including baby quilts and sewing supplies.
All remaining funds will go directly to the Kootenay Lake Hospital Foundation.
Dawn South7:15After 90 years of service, Kootenay Lake Hospital Auxiliary disband due to pandemic