They’re the grocery shoppers (and deliverers), the friendly voice on the other end of the phone, and the masked drivers making sure local seniors get to needed medical appointments. Peachland Wellness Centre volunteers are adapting, but because the centre is based entirely on community connection, they’re facing some big challenges, says executive coordinator Christina MacMaster.
“Throughout this, we’ve been offering everything that we did before, but on a varied sort of process,” she says during a recent chat.
Basically, the Wellness Centre (which is housed in that little white and burgundy-trimmed house on 5 St.), provides social and support-type programs for local seniors and others who need it. Preventing isolation and making people feel part of the community is a huge part of what they do.
The Wellness Centre will be one of four recipients of the funds raised from this Friday’s Light Up Virtual Gala, being put on by the Peachland Recovery Task Force. MacMaster is says the money will ensure programming will continue as they deal with two of their biggest challenges right now:
“One of them, obviously is not being able to work face to face with people. So our services such as Friendly Visitors now are phone calls rather than visits,” she says.
Finding available space is becoming another big challenge, especially since winter started, and the province’s recent restrictions.
“The challenge of space continues,” she said to this reporter in an email yesterday. The 50+ Centre, which was housing the bereavement program among others, closed recently, leaving the PWC to figure out another way.
And without annual fundraisers like their End of Summer Gala and their participation in the weekend-long Christmas craft fair (which would have been this past weekend), MacMaster says they’re missing a big source of revenue.
“Our take home from those I think last year may have been around $18,000 and that helps with a lot of our programs and services,” she says.
“Not being able to do those kinds of fundraisers is huge for us.”
Fundraisers aren’t the only thing they’re dependent on. Grants are uncertain, too.
“We’re not in danger of shutting down or losing programs and services. But we are in danger of losing funds to cover all of our costs like staffing costs. Which might reduce our ability to provide the services we’re currently providing,” says MacMaster.
For example, she’s applying for Gaming funding from the province – but with casinos and 50/50 draws at hockey games gone this year, it’s unknown if the PWC – and other groups across the province for that matter, will get what they’re asking for.
It’s one reason MacMaster is thankful local groups are pulling together right now. Money raised from the Light-Up Virtual Gala and the silent auction – all organized by The Peachland Recovery Task Force – goes back to local groups. The Peachland Boys and Girls Club, The Peachland Wellness Centre, The Peachland Sportsmen’s Association and BEEPS are all having a tough year, and so with a $25 ticket to a night of online entertainment, you can have a fun night at home while supporting your fellow Peachlanders. Local restaurants are providing lots of dinner options, and you can pick up your meal (and in some cases have it delivered) right before the show.
MacMaster and her husband have their tickets. They’re thinking the turkey dinner option from Bliss is what they’ll order for their meal – and rather than the normal after-work comfies, she says she may decide to go more formal.
“I’m hoping that we’ll get dressed up and even though we’ll be in our living room, we’ll feel a sense of more festivity,” she says.
MacMaster adds that the biggest thing she wants Peachlanders to know is that by supporting the Wellness Centre, you’re letting local volunteers continue some really important work:
“There’s the social aspect – even if it’s just a Zoom meeting, I know they’re not great, but it’s still good to see other faces. That’s huge for people.”
“Also, not only do we have seniors in Peachland who don’t have vehicles anymore, but we have people who can’t get out because of all this. So knowing something like a transportation service is available, that’s huge. We become a lifeline to so many people in our community by doing that.”
Here’s more from the PWC:
For the Twelve Days of Christmas, The Peachland Wellness Centre would like to see a dozen donors leaping at the opportunity to pledge a monthly donation that will allow programming to continue through these times. You can have a direct impact on helping someone in your community! The PWC website has all the details, including Phil’s story, right here.
The Wellness Centre’s annual gingerbread competition is going – you guessed it – virtual this year! Build your house and enter it in one of four categories: Individual adult / family, Kids, Non profit group, or local business! Winners will be determined by the number of Facebook Likes and votes on the PWC website. Entry is only $10, and it goes towards the continued operation of PWC programs. Deadline to register is Dec. 4, houses must be built and photographed on Dec. 9, and voting is between Dec. 11 to 21st.
Here’s a link for the entry form, rules and other official stuff. Good luck!
Say hello to Rhonda Bergquist! She moved to the area last November and is the new administration coordinator for the Peachland
wellness Centre. Actually, she started earlier this month, but today you could say the reins are being handed over – after eight years, Sherry Kendrick (right) is retiring. So, what’s the plan? Relaxing with her husband, Syd, Scrapbooking, learning Mahjong – and hopefully one day, travelling.
“Plus, I might join the Wellness Centre’s Monday morning coffee group,” she laughs.
Congratulations on new beginnings, ladies!
Do you have any small, gently used decor, or boutique-like items to donate? The PWC has a little shopping corner with nice things for people to purchase. If you have items to spare, please call (250) 767-0141 to arrange a drop-off time! They’re also accepting book donations.
Car seats are a necessary – and expensive part of parenting, and that’s why the Wellness Centre is happy to be working alongside the Child Safety Initiative, which is a partnership between the United Way, the Central Okanagan Foundation, the KGH Foundation and the Paul Docksteader Foundation. They’re providing car seats to local partners like the PWC, in limited quantities. If you, or anyone you know is in need of one, please call the Wellness Centre at (250) 767-0141.
The Wellness Centre would like to thank the Peachland Rotary for their generous donation of an automated external defibrillator (AED) which will now be kept on-site. Pictured here is Christina MacMaster, PWC Executive Coordinator holding the new device and Peggy Southin, past President of the Rotary Club of Peachland presenting a cheque for the AED, in the amount of $1,800.
It’s been a bright and sunny spot over the past couple months and this summer, the community garden at the Peachland Wellness Centre was in full bloom.
There’s 32 plots in the Wellness Centre’s backyard, and with a waiting list of 24 people, they’re hoping to add more in the future. Gardeners bring their own seeds, bedding plants and hand tools, and there’s an exchange bucket for people to trade any extras for what they need.
The centre’s Monday morning coffee group has been meeting in the garden lately, and Christina MacMaster says people are welcome to come visit, as long as they’re adhering to social distancing rules.
“It’s beautiful back there, and it just shows how the world carries on,” she says.
“We’re all living in these uncertain times and not knowing from day to day what’s going to be happening at work or otherwise and then you see what’s growing in the garden. It’s beautiful.”
Thirteen tablets – including two that are brand-new, were donated to the Wellness Centre between May and June. Even if you’ve never taken part in a PWC program and you’re in need of a device, the PWC can help. Call their office at (250) 767-0141. You can still donate a tablet if you’re able. These tablets will allow seniors (who are a majority of the PWC’s clients) to participate virtually in Wellness Centre programs, from coffee groups to singing, to whatever the demand may be going forward.
Do you want to help the PWC with a donation? You can go to the PWC donation page at CanadaHelps.org or Peachland Chamber, arrange for E- Transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the PWC and make arrangements to drop off your cheque or cash with one of our staff members. PWC has a safe drop-off site. Simply call the Peachland Wellness Centre at (250) 767-0141 before stopping by.