The Nelson Chapter of the Kootenay Lake Hospital Auxiliary was formed in 1931 and has been operating ever since.
It is not just a bunch of women having bake sales, although bake sales are one of its activities. In 2011, the Nelson Chapter of the KL Hospital Foundation donated $39,000 to the equipment fund of the Foundation. The 69 members of the Auxiliary raised this money by operating the hospital gift shop, providing TV service to the patients, operating the ATM machine in the hospital lobby, conducted two raffles and four bake sales. To meet this goal, the members put in 15,000 volunteer hours last year.
The auxiliary takes care of the gardens and planters at the hospital, decorates the hospital for special holidays and with the help of other volunteers, takes little gifts to the patients at Christmas and Easter. The auxiliary also recognizes the New Year’s Baby, with a special gift.
In the past, the auxiliary has purchased furniture for various departments in the hospital, such as maternity, palliative care and the lounge areas.
The auxiliary gift shop is located off the lobby at the hospital. The shop has a wide variety of small gifts, knitting, blankets, gift cards, used books, patient comfort supplies, confections, stuffed toys, baby gifts, etc. The gift shop has cards crafted by auxiliary members who do this to raise funds specifically for furnishings for the chemo unit. They are beautiful cards and are available for all occasions.
The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. It is a great place to purchase a gift for any event. All proceeds are returned to support patient care.
The auxiliary plants and maintains the gardens, flower boxes and hanging plants at the hospital. This is done to create a more pleasant atmosphere for both the patients and visitors to the hospital.
Last year while the volunteers were working on the plants, an elderly gentleman was sitting outside and made a comment that he had been in the hospital for 43 days and sitting outside among the flowers was a real blessing to him that had helped lift his spirits.
In 2010, some of the perennial plants went missing. It appeared that this was not the work of vandals, but the plants were properly removed. The auxiliary reported this to the management of the hospital who in turn spread the word that this was not to be tolerated as the plants were donated and worked on by volunteers to make the hospital a more pleasant place. Within a short time, an envelope appeared in the gift shop with $80 and a note stating that the person was sorry for stealing the plants and the $80 was to pay for them.
The Auxiliary is always looking for new members. If you have time to volunteer, please call Caroline Hopwood at 250-352-7170. If you don’t have time to join, but like to knit or quilt the auxiliary would be happy to have your donation. The auxiliary also has wool available if your need it to knit for the gift shop.