The Alberni Valley Hospice Society (AVHS) is putting on a festive—and socially distanced—celebration for the month of December to raise funds and honour lost loved ones.
On Saturday, Nov. 28, volunteers and board members with the AVHS could be seen putting up the last of the decorations at the Hospice Society’s office at 2579 10th Avenue. The holiday decor will be officially lit up on Dec. 1 for the first annual Light Up Hospice event.
The AVHS has lost around $143,000 in revenue since COVID-19 hit back in March. Light Up Hospice was dreamed up by Hospice Society board member Gerri Sing as a COVID-friendly fundraising event.
“We lost several of our fundraising events this year due to COVID,” explained AVHS executive director Teresa Ludvigson. “This way, people could see our event without having it impact their social distancing requirements.”
Light Up Hospice raises funds for the AVHS, while also providing a way for community members to honour the memory of a friend or family member. People can choose from lights, trees, wreaths and other holiday decorations and make an “in memory” donation in remembrance of a loved one. The decor will hang up outside of the office for the entire month of December.
“Quite often people like to commemorate their loved ones in a way like that,” said Ludvigson. “We’re hoping it can be a yearly event from now on. The premise is that it will grow and have even more unique decorations every year.”
The office will be lit up every day for the month of December from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Even though most of the decorations have already gone up, Ludvigson said people are still welcome to make a contribution by calling the office (250-723-4478) or visiting the AVHS website at www.albernihospice.ca.
“We’ll just keep adding things,” said Ludvigson.
Coulson Group and San Group have stepped up as title sponsors, while Canadian Tire and Home Hardware have provided lights, decor and props. Coulson Group also provided the enormous star at the top of the building.
“Various other corporate sponsors came in to help us out financially,” added Ludvigson.
Despite COVID-19, Ludvigson says the AVHS continues to provide 90 percent of the services it has always provided, from counselling services to operating the Ty Watson House community hospice.
“Our charity relies really heavily on our fundraising efforts,” said Ludvigson. “With the loss of that revenue, the community has stepped forward. The addition of [Light Up Hospice] is going to help greatly in getting us back to 100 percent.”