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Stuart Lake Hospital Auxiliary seeks new, younger volunteers ahead of 2025 hospital opening

Despite its longstanding presence in the community the non-profit’s current membership is aging
In May, volunteers from the Stuart Lake Hospital Auxiliary were given a sneak peek into the new hospital which is under construction in Fort St. James. Left to right: Karen Work; Julie-Ann Mortensen; Helen Fredricks; Sherry Nielsen; Joanne Leggatt; Donna Gingrich, Melina Romero. (Stuart Lake Hospital Auxiliary/ Facebook)

As the construction of the new Stuart Lake Hospital progresses in Fort St. James, the Stuart Lake Hospital Auxiliary is actively seeking new volunteers to join its ranks.

With the upcoming opening of the new hospital in 2025, the need for volunteer support has become paramount, said Auxiliary member and volunteer Lynn Dunkley.

The Auxiliary, a non-profit society dedicated to providing volunteer support services and financial assistance for patient care and comfort since 1966, is facing a decline in membership, said Dunkley.

Despite its longstanding presence in health regions, the organization’s current membership of 20 is aging, with some members being life-long contributors.

The new hospital, currently under construction, is expected to be operational by 2025 and will be triple the size of the old one at approximately 6,300 square feet.

As the new hospital expands its facilities, which includes 27 beds (18 community care and nine acute care), there is an urgent requirement for volunteers to assist with various initiatives, including the junior volunteer program. This program, akin to the traditional Candy Stripers, engages high school students in activities like delivering goody carts, visiting patients, and organizing games.

“With the tripling of the long term care beds - ones we are staffed to manage - we truly hope to open the volunteerism hearts of a new demographic,” said Dunkley.

Dunkley expressed the importance of recruiting new members to uphold the organization’s commendable service of 58 years of volunteering.

“We won’t be able to uphold our service commitment unless we find more people to join up and participate, and that will be a loss for our community,” Dunkley said.

Additionally, the auxiliary may require additional funding to cover equipment needs, such as reclining chairs, which are vital for patient comfort.

Prospective volunteers interested in joining the Stuart Lake Hospital Auxiliary are encouraged to attend their monthly meetings, held from September to June on the second Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Stuart Lake Seniors Center.

About the Author: Binny Paul

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