CHEK Upside: Victoria Hospice launches COVID-safe, local business-friendly fundraiser

CHEK Upside: Victoria Hospice launches COVID-safe, local business-friendly fundraiser
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Whether it’s making tea for an ill patient or seeking sponsors for a fundraiser, Sharon Davies has devoted much of her free time over the past seven years to helping Victoria Hospice.

“I enjoy just making sure somebody’s more comfortable,” said Davies, one of over three hundred volunteers for Victoria Hospice.

Victoria Hospice provides end-of-life care for an average of 1,000 patients per year and relies heavily on donations.

The charitable organization operates 50 per cent of its annual budget based on donations and the pandemic has made fundraising particularly challenging.

“Every year we have to raise around 4 million dollars,” said Wendy Innis, interim Director of Development for Victoria Hospice.

Prior to the pandemic, fundraising events included galas and fashion shows with hundreds of people in attendance. COVID-19 forced most of their fundraisers to go virtual or be cancelled altogether, however, organizers recently came up with a pandemic-proof plan.

“We’ve come up with this fabulous idea called Kits For Compassion,” said Innis.

It’s a curated gift box featuring items sourced from businesses around Vancouver Island.

“We really felt this time, in particular, it was incredibly important to support the local community that also supports us all year long,” said Innis, who calls the initiative a win-win community partnership.

Some of the items in the box include a package from Metchosin Soap Works and Tofino Towel Co. Items for the box were provided at a discount and even the fundraising headquarters was donated by Sands Funeral Home in Victoria, who also is covering shipping Canada-wide.

“When we receive families who have had someone pass away in hospice there is such a difference with the care they’ve received,” said Laura Van Sprang, Funeral Home Manager at Sands Funeral Chapel in Victoria. “So we certainly do whatever we can to support hospice and their fundraising events.”

There are limited boxes remaining and they’ll be hand-delivered by volunteers this Sunday, followed by an online event that features prizes and a singing performance. It’s a community-driven effort to help the nurses and volunteers provide bedside care and support for the region’s most vulnerable.

“So I think with hospice you really get that connection, there’s always somebody there for the people when they most need them,” said Davies, who’s been limited to volunteering at the hospital due to COVID-19 restrictions.

For more information on the Kits For Compassion gift boxes, click here.

Kevin CharachKevin Charach

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