Auxiliary in business to buy medical equipment & amenities for hospital
We are the Auxiliary of the Victoria General Hospital -- a diverse group of women and men dedicated to raising money to purchase equipment and amenities for the Victoria General Hospital. The Auxiliary is separately chartered with its own Constitution. Canadian charity #888879392RR0001
The Auxiliary since 1983
Way back then.....
Victoria General Hospital Auxiliary was founded at the opening of the hospital in the 80s and charter members still participate. Its mandate is to be a fund-raiser for the hospital to purchase equipment and amenities each year. It started with a project to provide car seats for the new-borns, building the helipad, buying the front doors, and to date over three million dollars has been raised and spent. Here are a few members using the benches provided by the Auxiliary.
Back then women, with an interest in medicine and often with time on their hands too, worked very hard to create the shop in the hospital concourse. It is still a huge success, providing hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for the Auxiliary to spend.
The shop, chocolate, and sales
Currently the membership stands at just under a hundred working and retired women and men about half of whom who run the shop completely without paid help.The main source of revenue is the concourse shop.
The shop has amazing buyers; you will find the expected toiletries, candies, slippers, and magazines, but also fashions, stuffed animals, home decor items, books, babywear, and much more. It's a great place to buy gifts for patients, for holidays, for yourself.
The staff are the best customers, along with the patients, the volunteers, and the visitors.
It's all-volunteer, so everything goes to fund-raising. Buyers, cashiers, display experts, money managers -- all have a place in the shop. Here's a pic from the good old days!
Purdy's chocolates are sold on the concourse.
Sales of new and nearly-new items and used books occur regularly, too.
On the way to the shop is a huge decal explaining how the Auxiliary and hospital work together.
Poinsettias for Patients
Poinsettias for Patients started in 2010 and each year excellent plants are sold for Christmas. Grown at Hilltop Greenhouses (just up behind the hospital), the Auxiliary pockets revenues from half the sales made and uses it for a particular project each year.
We have provided needed items including a very expensive and complicated stretcher for Emergency, a treadmill, things for premie babies like a Bilirubin meter and many Biliblankets. In 2020 the Auxiliary concentrated on renovating the ambulatory lab. It's the place where the public comes for blood drawing and other tests, but, most importantly, it's the place where children usually have to get their blood work done. The outside labs prefer not to treat kids, so a lot end up at the CFAU at 2 North in the hospital. The lab has been pretty much the same for over 3 decades and it is in need of help. The Poinsettias for Patients campaign is putting its revenues into improving the room where kids have to get their blood taken. The 2 things to start with for that room is a mural decal to create a better mood in the room, painted by known local professional artist Marcela Strasdas and her colleagues. The other part in distracting and calming kids is Virtual Reality. If you have every tried a VR headset, you know how it transports you to another life instantly. The Auxiliary has bought 3 sets -- one for little kids, one for bigger kids, and one for autistic kids who don't want surprises.
Poinsettias in various sizes and colours, as well as other plants and planters are great decorating items. They are sold to businesses, clubs, churches, and individuals for public places, for gifts, and for homes. They make fabulous seasonal presents as well as corporate gifts. Recently we have introduced a doubly charitable item: Besides buying an item to benefit the hospital, Poinsettia Santas have been given to patients stuck in hospital over the holidays, an anonymous gift of a poinsettia for their rooms, and poinsettias have been given to many front line workers. Buyers of Christmas plants often add Santa donations to their orders. In previous years, Poinsettia Santa provided hospitalized patients with a poinsetta. Last year we had FrontLine Santa and gave 3 departments of front line workers poinsettias for Christmans. This year it will be Security and Emergency Room workers who get the gifts. Last year dozens of you donated plants to give anonymously. For $20 we will give an anonymous poinsettia to express your appreciation.
Poinsettia profits will go to creating The Kid Kave -- a waiting room adjacent to the Emergency waiting room, specifically for children, complete with a mural painted by local well known artists..
The Auxiliary knitters provide the Shop with baby layettes, caps, booties, etc.. Knitter are provided with the wool and patterns.
The first baby of the New Year at the hospital is presented a complete knitted layette, and recipients are always very pleased for the "old-fashioned" gesture.
The Oasis@3North: A PROJECT OF THE AUXILIARY
The Oasis is the transformation of the rooftop at 3 North into a place to relax or pace, for patients, visitors, volunteers, and staff.
The huge area had been intended for a playground, but it remained largely unused for three decades. The Site Director took the Auxiliary President by the hand and showed it to her, asking if we thought it would be something the Auxiliary might want to improve for Island Health. It started many discussions, and in the end the membership stood behind it, because it would benefit everyone. The principal contributor was the Quality Foods in the newly built Eagle Creek Shopping plaza across the street. Others helped to with direct donations and donations in kind from printers to landscapers to the general public.
The Oasis was built to withstand the wind and provide seating and a little shade for under $100,000. You see patients eating lunch with their families, staff grabbing 5 minutes, etc.. The hospital uses it for their staff and volunteer barbecue and other events.
Island Health decorated the concourse and cafeteria with indoor plants, but they ran into budget difficulties and could not really afford plants anymore. Also it is hard to stop people from "looking after" plants, which usually results in massive over-watering.
The current plants in the cafeteria and on the concourse are provided and maintained by the Auxiliary....with distinct signs asking people not to "help" with watering.
Annually the Auxiliary receives a list of items deemed to be necessary for the hospital.
Items on the list, or special items specifically requested (like the Oasis or CFAU lab) are chosen and paid for by the Auxiliary, usually to the tune of $100,000 - $200,000, depending on revenues.
There is a huge retractable poster naming most of the items in the first 30 years, and it goes on. Some of the more visible Auxiliary items are the concourse furniture, the benches outdoors, and pushchairs.
In the dim and distant past of the last century the internet and intranet arrived at Vic General, but only for Island Health. "Not enough bandwidth", they said. "Privacy" too. Patients, visitors, and volunteers were on the outside peering greedily in.
Then along came Auxiliary member Carolyn Haines. Stuck in hospital for a protracted time, she built up a head of steam. Telephones were very expensive to rent and not everyone had smart phones. She the Auxiliary nagged and whined and pushed. Coincidentally, the provider gained the ability to have a broader band and the ability to have "business" WiFi meant that public WiFi was possible -- the only thing standing the way was, of course, money. Enter the Auxiliary, who finances the public Wifi that everyone can use in the hospital, and the world changed....at least for the patients.
The Auxiliary is completely volunteer, so all our profits go to the hospital’s needs.
Want to work in retail, recording-keeping, planning?
Cheap to join and important and fun.
It's a good place to make new friends.
Canadian charity #888879392RR0001