Health care auxiliary looking for volunteers

The volunteers of the Burns Lake and District Health Care Auxiliary are looking for more volunteers.


The volunteers of the Burns Lake and District Health Care Auxiliary are looking for more volunteers.

For more than 35 years the auxiliary has been officially operating as a society in the local area, however the group has had membership and been active in the community for 73 years, since 1938.

Currently the group has 35 volunteers, both men and women who volunteer their time to help out in a multitude of ways including working at the auxiliary’s thrift shop.

“We get fantastic donations that come on from the community for the thrift shop, We get some good quality items,” said Loretta Petryshen, volunteer.

“We cannot accept computers and televisions, encyclopedias or major electronics because we simply don’t have the space.”

Auxiliary members said thrift shop items sell fast, but they have periodic $5 bag sales to reduce inventory.

“We also ship excess clothing to the Salvation Army in Prince George and the Mennonite Central Committee in Abbotsford,” Petryshen said.

Aside from regular volunteers the group is looking for local knitters and crochet volunteers who would offer to knit youth sized sweaters.

“If anyone wants to volunteer to do this, they could first check with us at the thrift shop to see if we have any wool or yarn that has been donated,” said Grace Reid, volunteer.

Locals also have the opportunity to pay a one dollar membership fee to become a member of the auxiliary.

While not all volunteers are members, Petryshen said they are always on the look out for new members.

According to Petryshen members meet once per month at the boardroom in the Lakes District Hospital and make decisions on what to do with the proceeds from the thrift shop.

“We meet on the second Wednesday of every month and we make decisions on what equipment to purchase for the hospital and The Pines,” she said. Petryshen said the auxiliary keeps the membership fees low because they have a good working membership.

“We all produce and give,” she said.

This year the auxiliary has 25 members.

Aside from equipment purchases the auxiliary also fully stocks a ‘comfort cupboard’ at the Pines, which is filled with personal care products such as shampoos, razors and soaps and is available for all the residents to use.

Reid estimates the thrift shop proceeds to be approximately $50,000 annually.

Aside from the proceeds from the thrift shop, the auxiliary also gains the proceeds from the gift shop at the Lakes District Hospital and a pop and snack machine, also at the hospital.

Volunteer Maggie Fehr said that over the years the auxiliary has purchased items including an operating table for the Lakes District Hospital,  GPS systems for local ambulances and have also purchased a locator system for use for those with Alzheimer’s disease.

“It is a tracking device for Alzheimer’s patents. John Remple from Burns Lake Search and Rescue is looking after it if any community members want to use it, but the auxiliary purchased it,” said Fehr.

The group has also purchased equipment for the Southside Health and Wellness Clinic on the Southside.

“We have purchased gel mattresses, fans …. any equipment needed for the hospital and the Pines. It is equipment for the comfort and care of the sick and elderly in local facilities,” Petryshen said.

The auxiliary is also looking for more junior volunteers to help out at the Lakes District Hospital and the Pines.

Reid said that junior volunteers can be aged from 13 years and upwards. “Anyone in the age range of Grades 8 to 12,” she said.

Junior volunteers can read stories to the elderly, deliver drinks and snacks and offer a general helping hand at the facilities.

“We offer a $2,000 bursary for a student going into the health care field and have an education program where 15 per cent of the money earned goes to support junior volunteers and auxiliary members attend conferences,” Fehr said.

Every year members of the auxiliary deliver Christmas presents to the Pines and those in long term care at the Lakes District Hospital.

“Everyone gets a present,” Reid said, adding that the auxiliary also delivers Christmas appreciation gifts of either poinsettias or fruit trays to the Burns Lake Medical Clinic, Heritage Manor, Tweesdmuir House, the Pines and Carroll Cottage.

Volunteers also don’t miss out, with annual appreciation dinners held to honour those that volunteer their time.

“We get treated like royalty,” Petryshen said.

The auxiliary is able to issue tax receipts for in memoriam donations. “People can designate where they want the money to go or leave it up to the auxiliary to decide,” Reid said. Fore more details look in the classified section of Lakes District News.

As for a time commitment form any potential volunteers, Petryshen said it is up to the individual,

“We have people who drop in on their lunch breaks and help out for an hour or two … it is up to the individual,” she said.

For more information on becoming a junior volunteer contact Linda Oke at the Pines at 250-692-2490. For more information on becoming an auxiliary volunteer stop by the thrift shop on Fourth Avenue or phone 250-692-7666.