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Hospital auxiliary celebrates volunteers in 85th anniversary year

Story and photos by Sharon Harrison
The Prince Edward Memorial Hospital Auxiliary marked a special anniversary in style Sunday afternoon. In a volunteer appreciation event held at The Wellings of Picton, around 60 volunteers enjoyed light refreshments and, of course, cake, to mark the 85th anniversary.

The PECMH Auxiliary was established in 1934 and provides volunteer services to augment patient care, supports community programs and fundraises for Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital.

Their mission statement is to support and assist Quinte Health Care, Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital, its patients and staff, and the local community in meeting healthcare needs through service and fundraising.

A number of significant milestones were recognized by numerous volunteers at Sunday’s event.

A number of hour and year awards were presented for time devoted to volunteering within the auxiliary, and included 11 recipients in the 1,000 hours category, two recipients in each of the 2,000 and 3,000 hours categories, four recipients in the 4,000 hours category and one recipient in each of the 5,000, 8,000 and 14,000 hours categories.

The recipient of the 14,000 hours award said it has taken her about 25 years to reach 14,000 hours.

Seven recipients each received the 10 Year award and the 15 Year award, three recipients received the 20 Year award, with one recipient in each of the 25 Year, 30 Year, 35 Year, 40 Year and 45 Year categories.

Due to privacy concerns, the PECMH Auxiliary requested all award recipient names be withheld.

Patricia Evans, PECMH Auxiliary president spoke to the impact volunteers have on lifting up their communities as well as contributing to their communities.

“Our volunteers contribute so much to the hospital auxiliary and one of the reasons why we put on this event on this day is because it kicks off national volunteer week,” she said.

PECMH Auxiliary is entirely staffed by volunteers (including several male members) and has become a significant part of the County’s health care community.

They are about 250 active volunteers with the auxiliary, with 350 in total who are registered.

“They do a hundred different jobs,” said Evans. “Some help out at Festival of Trees, others are in the store two days a week, other volunteers work one day a month but in one or two different services, so everybody’s story is a little bit different, but that’s what nice about it, because you can suit yourself and what you’re comfortable with.”

PECHM volunteer Liz Jones told those in attendance that the auxiliary volunteers were an untapped resource for the way they support hospital auxiliary.

“Don’t let an opportunity go by, speak to your friends; the commitment for volunteerism at the auxiliary is a few hours a month in dialysis, to four hours a year at a shift at Festival of Trees, to thousands of hours if that’s what you to do within the many services that the auxiliary provides,” said Jones.

Just the fellowship alone and spending time with other people and getting out of the house and enjoying the fact that you are doing good work is all part of volunteering with the auxiliary, she said.

While the PECMH Auxiliary is always looking for more volunteers and new volunteers are needed every month, Jones said there is also a critical need for people to step up in management roles.

The auxiliary provides so much support and it is a very professional organization said Jones. “There is no end of people to help you and you are never alone.”

PECMH Auxiliary participates in programs such as Meals on Wheels, and fundraising endeavours like the Coffee Shop, the Second Time Around Shop and the Festival of Trees raise money for special projects, patient support and much-needed technical equipment for the hospital.

Jones thanked the many volunteers as well as Ursula Solecki who organized the event.

“When people work together they can accomplish anything, and I think our auxiliary exemplifies that,” said Evans.

“I would really like to emphasize that the volunteers raise a lot of money for hospital equipment and things like that, but the other side of it is, the other volunteers work in the hospital. They provide support to the patients, whether it’s with feeding, putting a warm blanket on an endoscopy patient or making a cup of tea for a patient in dialysis. Sometimes we focus a little heavily on the fundraising we do, but I always want to say both are equally important.”

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