“Ty Watson House is a home, and every home has a kitchen,” says Helma Swinkels. This simple idea is at the core of Pot Luck Ceramics in Port Alberni—a one-of-a-kind retail enterprise designed to raise funds for Ty Watson House, a unique hospice that provides end-of-life care and compassion to the city’s residents.
When Swinkels came to the Alberni Valley more than a decade ago, she heard about efforts to open the hospice. She approached Lynn Turner, who was responsible for pushing the hospice project forward, and because Swinkels had trained as a dietitian she was put in charge of the kitchen.
“The kitchen is the heart of the house,” Swinkels said, which is why it’s so important to ensure Ty Watson House has adequate funding for kitchen supplies.
“It’s a place where you can move in and it seems like home. It’s the centrepiece of the house.”
Swinkels helped set the Port Alberni Fundraising Co-op, which runs Pot Luck Ceramics as a for-profit store. Proceeds then go to quality of life projects such as Ty Watson House or in past years, the Better At Home program.
On April 16, Swinkels was able to give hospice representatives a $10,000 cheque for operation of the kitchen, as they have done for the past few years. She also said the co-op will kick off a brand new campaign in May that will see their fundraising net cast a little wider.
“We will always keep Ty Watson House in our hearts,” said Swinkels, guaranteeing the hospice a substantial annual donation.