A major change to the bylaws governing the territory of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Barrie Memorial Hospital (WA) was introduced during the organization’s annual general meeting on April 26.
In the past, the funds raised through the activities of the WA were reserved exclusively for the Barrie Memorial Hospital. Going forward, the organization will continue to prioritize the Ormstown-based hospital but will also now consider helping other health institutions located in the Haut-Saint-Laurent. “We are very happy about this movement,” says JoAnn McClintock who chairs the membership committee. “Patients are not kept in the hospital anymore,” she says, noting changes to the healthcare system and how care is provided.
The mission of the Auxiliary has always included helping the patients of the Haut-Saint-Laurent and Hemmingford to maintain their well-being, she explains, and to do this, the WA needed to expand their reach. “We wanted to be able to open up and support the community,” she says, noting the decision was adopted unanimously.
This does not mean, however, that the organization will stop supporting the hospital with large donations. In 2022-2023, over $140,000 in equipment was purchased for the Barrie Memorial, and an additional $65,000 in expenditures has been approved. This includes a Philips Fast Echo ultrasound system for the operating room ($21,377) and four therapeutic mattresses ($21,586). Electronic blood pressure, temperature, and oxygen saturation machines were also installed at the head of all the beds on the third floor ($76,884). These will replace the portable machines that needed to be washed after each use.
Annual fundraising campaign
Following a decision made last year, the membership fee of $5 was included as part of each overall donation and in tax receipts issued to donors. This decision opened the door for men to also become members of the organization. Despite this, membership fell in 2022 to a total of 504 members, while the campaign raised an impressive $34,977.
The membership committee once again decided to forego canvassing door-to-door this year, citing a growing population and difficulties recruiting volunteers. Postcards were mailed to every home in the Haut-Saint-Laurent and Hemmingford instead, with instructions for donating by mail or online. The WA received funds through e-transfer, cheques in the mail, and cash donations at several events including Havelock Fair, the Fall Festival, and the annual Christmas Bazaar.
The donation results, while very positive, clearly reflect the impact of the pandemic. The five-year average for donations between 2015 and 2019 was roughly $69,210. Over the three years of the pandemic, this figure dropped to $37,560. From 2019 to 2022, the organization has also lost 1,512 members.
Fundraising activities for 2023 are set to launch during the upcoming Expo Ormstown, where the WA will begin the raffle for a beautiful handmade quilt. The traditional July 1 BBQ will take place this year at the Ormstown Curling Club, but as takeout only. Members will be present at events throughout the summer into the fall, when the drawing for the quilt will take place following the annual Christmas Bazaar in November.
More information on the organization, volunteering opportunities, and ways to donate can always be found online at dahbm.org.