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Health Auxiliary looking for new members

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Since forming almost 70 years ago, on April 26, 1949, the Swan River Valley Health Auxiliary (SRVHA) – which has historically been made up completely of women – has raised countless dollars for healthcare in the Valley and contributed immeasurable amounts of time, resources and love to the patients who have walked through the doors of the Swan Valley Health facilities during that time.
“Three years after forming, the average membership was 300 (people) and the group had raised $16,353,” longtime SRVHA member Grace Livingstone said in a feature article done on the group in 2015. “Twenty locals were formed in districts (outside of Swan River) called aids and each aid worked along with the central aid to raise money for furnishings for the newly built hospital.”
Livingstone added that each of these districts made quilts, diapers, nightgowns which were brought in monthly before starting over again.
“Fundraising was made by having tag days, serving at banquets and hosting variety concerts, and silver teas,” she continued reading. “We also had a pantry shower each year.”
Using the funds raised, the group purchased new bed mattresses, oxygen tents, fridges, stoves, televisions, blood pressure apparatus, desk bells, children’s playroom furnishings and many more items that were used to assist staff and ensure patient comfort during their stay in hospital.
“We used to do a lot of sewing and repairs to sheets and night wear,” said Livingstone, noting that these services are no longer needed because it’s a throw away world now. “We also used to bring in fresh vegetables for the kitchen and help get them ready, but, due to health regulations, this is no longer allowed.”
In the past 10 years the SRVHA has raised approximately $144,775, which has gone entirely back to the Swan Valley Health Centre (SVHC) with the exception of $500 given to a graduating SVRSS student each year.
Some of the more recent items include a 24 hour blood pressure monitor for outpatients, bariatric wheelchair scale, locking medical carts, vital sign monitors and a bladder scanner. The group will continue to work toward the lists of equipment needs that SVHC Care Team Manager Karen Clever provides for them.
“I can’t say enough good things about this group,” said Clever. “We, at the facility, and our community are so fortunate to have their continued support.
“They allow us to get equipment that we need which we might not have received otherwise, simply due to budgetary restrains.”
Continuing with popular fundraisers like bake sales and raffles, the annual strawberry teas, and assisted by donations made through memorial envelopes at funerals and the concessions, the SRVHA hope to continue their work well into the future.
They are working hard to make sure they stay active and don’t become a thing of the past. They’re hoping to breathe new life into the organization and attract some youthful members with fresh ideas.
Sadly, due to lack of members the group has had to significantly reduce the hours their concession is open, impacting the amount of money they are able to bring in to the organization.
“When we had more members we had it open every day but I think it’s only three days a week now because of lack of people to work,” said SRVHA Secretary Gloria Kutynec.
Like many volunteer organizations out there the SRVHA is looking for new members. But, unlike some of those groups, the level of commitment required is minimal.
“Everybody has gifts and it doesn’t matter who comes they all have their unique gifts to give,” said Kutynec, noting that some like to knit and crochet items to sell while others like to work in the concession. “There is no age requirement and we only meet once a month.
“We don’t ask that you have to participate in all of our events and meetings – we just want you to help out where you can.”
For those looking to join the process is easy, just simply show up in the lobby of the SVHC on the first Thursday of the month at 2 p.m. and you will find the crew waiting to be admitted up to the facility’s upper-level board room.
Everybody is welcome,” Kutynec said. “Anyone can come and sit in at a meeting and see what we’re all about without having to commit.
“We never know when we’re going to need to be in hospital and it’s nice to know that the equipment is up to date and that there is a very worthwhile organization who cares about the community making life for staff and patients easier.”