The Gleaner

Huntingdon County Hospital Foundation has big plans despite drop in donations

Since it first became a non-profit organization in 1972, the board of the Huntingdon County Hospital Foundation has worked tirelessly to advocate for improvements at what is now the Huntingdon Residential and Long-term Care Centre. The Foundation is dedicated to the wellbeing and quality of life experienced by residents; in fact, the foundation has made a point of never turning down a request received from the staff at the hospital, provided it would benefit the residents.

The list of purchases runs very long and includes everything from specialized medical and physiotherapy equipment to wheelchairs and different types of adapted chairs and infrastructure. The foundation also funded the construction of an outdoor gazebo in front of the building, an outdoor adapted bicycle, benches, chairs and patio furniture, landscaping, and renovations. One of the most elaborate updates to the long-term care residence came in 2014, when the foundation paid for the addition of a solarium on the second floor. Residents and their families have since been able to benefit from a magnificent view of the Chateauguay River year-round.

The foundation is now poised to invest in another major infrastructure project: the creation of an outdoor green space for residents. Years ago, the foundation purchased three houses neighbouring the institution, including two houses on Hunter Street and a red house on Chateauguay Street. Over the years, the houses have been used as a day centre, a place for meetings, offices, and most recently, for storage. The red house, which has stood vacant for years, will soon be demolished to make way for the creation of a small park.

“Right now, there is no outdoor space reserved for our residents,” says Foundation president Claude Ménard. He admits the foundation is still at the very early stages of discussions with the Montérégie-Ouest Integrated Health and Social Services Centre (CISSSMO), but insists the board is prepared to invest heavily in such a meaningful project for the residents and their families.

While dedicated to this project, Ménard does not shy away from admitting that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the foundation and its ability to fundraise. For a second year in a row, the organization will not be holding its annual golf tournament, which reliably brings in well over $20,000 each summer. Over the past 32 years, the golf tournament alone has raised over $350,000 for the foundation. To date, over $1 million has been raised and invested in the hospital.

A second consequence of the public health crisis is that donations to the foundation are also down significantly this year. Ménard says the foundation remains in good financial health and that he is confident the downturn in donations will not last. He is also certain the 2022 golf tournament will be well attended. In the meantime, he hopes that more people will consider making a donation this summer, even if they will not be teeing off for the foundation. Donations and In Memoriam tributes can be made out to the Huntingdon County Hospital Foundation, 198 Chateauguay Street, Huntingdon.

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