The Coulson Group in Port Alberni is helping the Alberni Valley Hospice Society make it through the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday, Aug. 6, Foster Coulson of the Coulson Group of Companies delivered a cheque for $2,500 to the Alberni Valley Hospice Society. Like many other charities, the Hospice Society has been struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fundraising events generally provide the Hospice Society with up to 70 percent of its annual operating budget every year.
“Our Black Ty Gala, the Butterfly Effect, any other small fundraising events have been cancelled,” explained Hospice Society executive director Teresa Ludvigson. “That put us back about $140,000. Those are huge components to how we operate.”
The Alberni Valley Hospice Society, which runs the four-bed community hospice Ty Watson House, works with people and families who are living with a life-threatening illness or experiencing bereavement. Their work has been ongoing since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The Hospice Society has adapted to some of the changes, with increased sanitization, screening checks and newly-installed plexiglass shields. The main office on 10th Avenue, which was forced to close at the beginning of the pandemic, was able to re-open in June.
“Our staff have been working non-stop in ever-changing conditions and rules,” said Ludvigson. “We’re doing what we have to do, and everybody’s pitching in.”
To assist with some of the loss of revenue, the Hospice Society made the decision this year to sell raffle tickets. The top prize for this year’s raffle is an Acorn Tender rowboat, handcrafted in Port Alberni with mahogany marine ply and fitted out with yellow cedar, fir and red cedar oars. The boat is currently on display at Chances RimRock Gaming Centre. Other prizes include two nights accommodation at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, one night accommodation at the Villa Eyrie Resort and return airfare for two for anywhere WestJet flies.
The draw date for the raffle is Oct. 16. Tickets can be purchased online at www.albernihospice.ca or by calling the Hospice office at 250-723-4478.
The raffle, said Ludvigson, has been going “very well.” More than half the tickets have been sold over three weeks, and Ludvigson expects to be sold out by September.
“Our community really rallies behind us,” said Ludvigson. “We had to reinvent the wheel. We can’t do an event, so we’re holding a raffle in a unique way.”
In the meantime, the donation from the Coulson Group will assist the Hospice Society in regaining their footing during the pandemic.
“It was really a thoughtful donation,” said Ludvigson. “And coming from a community business that we knew had suffered losses as well.”