By Sue Tiffin
For more than 20 years, the Minden Health Care Auxiliary has offered a strong support to the Minden hospital and Hyland Crest long-term care facility, helping when and where they are needed to help fund essential items and equipment.
Now, the auxiliary needs help themselves, in the form of more volunteers.
“Our membership continues to decrease for several reasons,” said Anne Stephens, auxiliary president, noting the group had 50 members at one point but has lost many through attrition and aging. “We have reached a tenuous time with the membership decreasing to the point we might have to disband the auxiliary. This would be very unfortunate as we help to fundraise for items that hospitals are not able to purchase.”
On average, prior to the pandemic, Minden’s Health Care Auxiliary raised about $15,000 annually through fundraising efforts such as the Wine on Wheels raffle, tag day, Christmas lunch, live theatre events and silent auctions.
“What the general public doesn’t understand is that the government gives money to hospitals for their operating budgets, but not their capital,” said Stephens. “If things like a stretcher breaks down and can’t be repaired, they don’t always have the money to buy a new stretcher. So they come to auxiliaries and ask, can you help support us?”
The auxiliary has supported Hyland Crest and the emergency department over the past few years through donations from the community, gift shop sales and fundraising efforts by funding two compassionate care suites, and purchasing items for food preparation, wheelchair steamers, airway management and elevated tables for the dining room – often equipment that makes healthcare provider’s jobs easier, and helps make life better and safer for residents and patients. Most recently the group gathered to donate $10,000 – money raised despite the pandemic – toward the implementation of a new nurse call bell system at Hyland Crest.
“The fact that we had numerous donations come in, even during COVID, we were able to present the Haliburton Highlands Health Services Foundation with that cheque, that was pretty impressive,” said Stephens.
Minden Health Care Auxiliary members come from throughout the county. Meetings take place every two months, usually, with an AGM in November and fundraising events through the year. Volunteers can be any age, and should be interested in helping the community, said Stephens.
“Anyone who can bring new ideas, people who are willing to work as a team, and just basically help raise money for the local hospital – to make it better,” she said.
Stephens, a retired nurse who worked at Toronto General Hospital for 40 years, knows the value of helping to support vital healthcare needs.
“One never knows when we will require their services,” she said.
For more information about the auxiliary, to volunteer or donate, contact Marie at firstname.lastname@example.org.