Alberni Valley Hospice facing funding crunch due to COVID-19

Alberni Valley Hospice facing funding crunch due to COVID-19

An Alberni Valley charity is among those calling on the federal government for some assistance as it struggles to raise funds in light of COVID-19.

Typically, the Alberni Valley Hospice Society would be holding its premier fundraising event this weekend.

But with gatherings banned because of the coronavirus, that isn’t happening and the organization says they are facing a significant shortfall this year.

Marianne Bauml-Murray is a counsellor who talks to clients about losing a family member.

Her counselling is part of what the Alberni Valley Hospice Society provides to the community.

Since COVID-19 arrived demand for her service and the organization’s services are up.

“I have seen an increase,” said Bauml-Murray. “I think it brings up stuff for people that normally they could cope with like anxiety depression because they’re feeling more isolated and don’t have the supports they typically would have.”

The hospice also runs Ty Watson House, a four-bed heritage home with 24-hour care for people living out their final days.

And while demand for programs is higher, costs are also up. Numerous volunteers have had to stop giving time because of health concerns.

“We now have some staff that are taking over volunteer shifts to our cost of employment and delivery of our program has increased,” Teresa Ludvigson, Ty Watson House executive director, said.

That’s partly why the charity says it’s facing a significant funding shortfall.

This weekend is when the 12th annual Black Tie Gala, the organization’s premier fundraising event, was supposed to happen but it was cancelled because of COVID-19.

Their Butterfly effect fundraiser also cancelled.

“We typically raise between 135 to 145 thousand dollars in the next three or four months that helps us operationally to be viable and to be as self-sufficient as we can so we’re experiencing that loss completely due to COVID,” said Ludvigson

The head of Imagine Canada, an organization that works on behalf of 86,000 charities country-wide, says Alberni Valley Hospice is one of many feeling the pinch.

“The impact of COVID on charities is incredible. We’re seeing over 70 percent of organizations that are reporting significant declines in revenue which is double those that reported similar declines in 2009 after the ’08 economic collapse,” said Bruce MacDonald, Imagine Canada’s CEO.

MacDonald says he’s calling on the federal government to fund a new grant program for charities, so those like Alberni Valley Hospice can survive the crisis and be in a position for recovery.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!