Here’s what’s new at the Peachland Wellness Centre:
About 800 people got a shot in the arm – a COVID vaccine shot, that is, during the mobile vaccination clinic planned by Interior Health and community partners June 9 and 10. The PWC’s Christina MacMaster says she isn’t sure how many first vs-second doses, “but clearly the majority through here in Peachland were second dose,” she told me in an email this morning.
“This pop up clinic system was very well done. From set-up to take down it was all very efficient. The teams travel together and know their roles well so all we had to do was direct those in the line up, give them information, and ensure they had been 28 days since their previous dose,” she said.
MacMaster adds Interior Health may be back for another pop-up clinic (which they’re doing right now in rural / underserved communities across the province).
“We will only get word with very short notice, so I’ll let you know as soon as I know,” she said.
Sounds like a plan!
Here’s what the lineup was like the morning of Thursday, June 10:
The Wellness Centre is excited because they’re slowly re-opening!
“Our services have pretty much kept running, it’s the programs we’ve been missing,” said Executive Coordinator Christina MacMaster during a phone call Friday morning (May 28).
“So programs like our Monday coffee group, they’re just so excited to be able to actually see each other again and people in the adult day service, some of them have seen nobody but family for months and months, so for them to be able to get together again is just absolutely so exciting.”
Also exciting is plans for the PWC’s biggest annual fundraiser, the End of Summer Gala, is going ahead Sept 25. It looks like this will be Peachland’s first ‘normal’ event since the pandemic began.
“We’re limiting it to 50 tickets that will be sold, and we think it’s going to be very desirable for people – the first normal, dress-up event in Peachland. We’ve been working on it for several months now,” MacMaster says, adding numbers and plans will be adjusted depending on health restrictions.
Tickets will be on sale starting July 1.
Also on July 1, the PWC is planning another holiday dinner. You may recall they did something similar at Christmas and Easter.
“We’re now calling them holiday dinners,” she says.
“It will be like a picnic with salads and sandwiches. So that’s the next big thing we’re working on.”
Back to programming – Christina says their current space – that cozy house on 5 St, doesn’t allow for social distancing for more than six people, so the District of Peachland has helped by letting the PWC use 4St Place nearby. Services such as Better at Home, Friendly Visitors and their grocery shopping service will continue, of course.
She adds they’re looking to hire a new program coordinator. Here’s a list of what the PWC will now be offering. Attendance numbers will be limited so call ahead to confirm your attendance at any of the listed programs or services:
- Adult Day Service – PWC currently pays to rent space at the 50+ Centre to house this extremely valuable and needed community service.
- Bereavement Support Group – continuing in the PWC building Thursdays at 1:00 PM.
- Holiday Dinners – will be provided out of the PWC building for the next exciting July 1, 2021, Picnic Dinner, get your name on the list for this salad and sandwich meal.
- Community Gardens of course are in the backyard and looking beautiful and ready for the Art and Garden show on June 12, 2021.
- Computer Literacy – continues by appointment.
- PWC Tablet program is a new program funded by New Horizons for Seniors that will see seniors partnered with volunteers who will spend time teaching the use of tablets for connecting to loved ones and the community. Tablets will be supplied.
- Income Tax continued this year and has just wrapped up for 2021.
- Men’s Coffee and Cards – in the PWC building Tuesdays, starting June 15, 2021 at 1:00 PM.
- Monday Morning Coffee (Monday Coffee Social Support) too be held at 4th street place beginning June 7th at 1:00 PM.
- Tai Chi for Wellness – Heritage Park Thursdays, 10:00 AM
- Wellness Circle – going online in a zoom format.
An April 19 message from Christina MacMaster:
I want to thank the staff we have worked with at the Interior Health Authority who have gone above and beyond to make a Peachland clinic happen. They, I am sure, struggle as much as the rest of us to work through things beyond their control. I also want to thank our Mayor, Cindy Fortin who has stayed on top of things for the people in Peachland. The staff at the Community Centre have also worked extremely hard fielding calls and preparing the space for the clinics. The staff here at PWC who I must say have been exemplary in their effort to support the community and help them to understand the issues of; yes, we have a clinic, oops, no we don’t, oh yes, we do, etc. The Peachland Fire Department Chief who steps up himself and with his crew to help others. And finally, the fabulous volunteers of the Peachland Wellness Centre. The admin volunteers who also have been responsive on the phones to the many questions about the clinics and the volunteers who worked the first clinic and arrived early for the second only to be turned away once it was determined the clinic would not happen that day to then agreeing to be present for the rebooked clinic. All of this for each of you! This is volunteer appreciation week so if you see a volunteer giving of their time, please remember to offer your gratitude.
Glitches in systems, to eventually make the process smoother, are always hard to deal with and we in Peachland have weathered this most recent process well.
Yes, the April 22 COVID vaccination clinic is happening – and as of the afternoon of April 16, those who are eligible can book their appointments. (For all the info on eligibility and appointments, visit the Interior Health COVID 19 website)
If you’ve been following along (here’s my blog from April 15), you know this week’s clinic didn’t happen, thanks to what Interior Health referred to in a press release as a “gap in our communication with the community centre.” You’ll also recall in that press release, there was no mention of an April 22 clinic in Peachland.
The words came as a surprise to the PWC’s Christina MacMaster because hours earlier, she had already announced the April 22 clinic, after confirming this with Interior Health officials. And based on that announcement, people started to book for Peachland – but the option wasn’t available. Fast-forward to this afternoon (April 16) and she was able to confirm that yes, the Peachland clinic is now available for those booking appointments.
Do you have an appointment at the Peachland vaccination clinic? Here’s what you can expect:
“There’s someone at the front door of the community centre who confirms your appointment and then there’s someone inside who greets you and gives you information to read and directs you to the registration table,” says Christina MacMaster, executive coordinator of the PWC.
“Then at the registration table, the nurses put in your Care Card number and all that kind of stuff. And then from there you go to a waiting area, so to speak, until a nurse is available and then the nurse waves when they’re available and we have volunteers who will walk you to the nurses’ table if you need assistance or just to direct you.
After your shot you go to another waiting area where you sit for about 15 minutes just to confirm you’re OK and then you go out the side door when you’re finished,” says MacMaster,
“It was a really smooth process.”
One added thing for the April 22 clinic – if you have District-related business, you can go through the main entrance, using the doors on the left-hand side.
Earlier, she said it’s possible over a quarter of Peachlanders could have their first dose of the vaccine. I talked to a few Peachlanders April 8. Here’s the news story I wrote
For all the info on eligibility and appointments, visit the Interior Health COVID 19 website (https://news.interiorhealth.ca/news/covid-19-vaccines/)
April 7 update:
The phone number for the local COVID vaccine clinic has changed. Now, the number to call is 1-833-838-2323.
“We at PWC are sorry for the confusion around the phone numbers and getting registered for the vaccine,” says Christina MacMaster of the PWC.
“It is frustrating that they (the province) changed the process and phone number after only a couple of months. This change happening at the same time as adding the Peachland dates has made it very confusing for us and those we are helping. All we can do now is give people the new number and/or the info to register online and hope they get in.”
The clinic runs April 8 and April 15 between 8:30 to 3:30 at the Peachland Community Centre. It’s open only to those in the eligible age / health group, First Nations, and those who are clinically vulnerable (and have received a patient invitation letter).
Go to https://news.interiorhealth.ca/news/covid-19-vaccines/ for more info.
Last night, Mayor Cindy Fortin had this to say about Peachland’s clinic:
“The squeaky wheel sometimes does get the grease and I’m really happy for residents of Peachland that they actually are able to get immunization here for now and we’ll keep pushing for (this) as the age groups go down and more and more people can be immunized. It’s just so very important.”
Tulips, warmer weather – and vaccinations. Yes, these times have been strange, stressful and sad, but spring is here and for the Peachland Wellness Centre, it’s finally time to start tentatively planning for one of their favourite events. They’re hoping they can make a go of their Third Annual End of Summer Gala, which of course was cancelled last year. It’s one of their biggest fundraisers, and volunteers are hoping to get it off the ground because the PWC could really use the support. September 25, 2021 is the tentative date, with an alternate date of next March, if pandemic concerns are still around.
Marty Edwards has already offered his singing voice, and there will be limited seating for a three-course dinner, and of course a dance afterwards. Imagine how fun that would be!
Tickets will be on sale soon, and the organizing committee is hoping locals will come forward. If you’d like to be a gala sponsor, you’ll automatically get your own table at the dinner for your family, friends or staff, and you’ll be on all the promotional material. If you have anything to offer in the way of a gift basket for the silent auction, please get in touch!
All proceeds from the gala, of course go towards the good work the PWC does in our community. You can find more about that by joining their email newsletter or checking out their website!
For more information about the gala or to preorder your tickets, contact the Peachland Wellness Centre at (250) 767-0141.
Speaking of spring, Easter is coming up, and Peachlanders Susan Haglund and Henk Ruevekamp have made a generous donation, allowing the PWC to host an Easter dinner! It’ll be set up in much the same way as the Christmas dinner (it will be pick up and delivery only.) If you want to reserve your free dinner, please call the Wellness Centre at (250) 767-0141 by March 26.
You can still be kind in these times – and especially on February 17. It’s Random Act of Kindness Day, and the Peachland Wellness Centre has some good ideas to spread that stuff everywhere! You can start by calling (like, on the phone 😉 a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in awhile. Make a nice cup of tea or coffee for someone you live with, send a funny text or meme to a friend, shovel your neighbour’s driveway or take in their bins – even spending some extra-present time with your kids / pets / partner is a way to be kind. You could even pay for the person behind you at Bliss and start a coffee kindness chain – or arrange for a friend or neighbour to delivery from one of our awesome Peachland restaurants! You make your friend happy, you’re helping local business – and the Peachland Recovery Task Force has a way you can win big because of it!
If you want to extend this kindness streak, why not consider volunteering? According to the PWC website, they’re always looking for volunteers – and yes, this is all done at a distance or virtually! You can help with the transportation service, grocery deliveries, friendly phone calls and administration positions. More info + sign up right here! You’ll be joining a great bunch of people 🙂
New hours for February! This month, PWC staff will be in the house Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. They’ll be returning to being open five days a week come March, just in time for tax season 🙂
Soon it will be Seedy Saturday! The event is a little different this year, of course but it seems very convenient! You just order your (free!) seeds from their website, then head into Kelowna to pick them up during your allotted time on March 14! Check out this poster + bcseeds.org for more info on what this is all about.
Did you know the Wellness Centre has a new program? It’s called Friendly Callers and with some people feeling especially isolated right now, it’s exactly what’s needed. If you – or someone you know, is by themselves or in need of some social contact, a trained volunteer is happy to have a cheerful phone conversation. Everything is confidential, of course. Give the Wellness Centre a call or email to find out more!
How generous is this? The Peachland Wellness Centre was so happy to receive this $1,000 cheque from Susan Haglund and Henk Ruevekamp.
It means the PWC can put on an Easter dinner this year, just like the socially-distanced Christmas dinner volunteers pulled off in 2020 (more on that below). The dinner is planned for April 4, 2021 – Easter Sunday.
There was one important tradition that was NOT cancelled in 2020. For the past seven years, Ted and Donna Cave have made sure Peachlanders who are spending Christmas Day alone, get a hot, comforting meal. This year the meal wasn’t an in-person affair: A total of 42 volunteers were assigned to separate tasks: Cooking the meal, (turkey, dressing, potatoes, veggies, gravy, dessert) wrapping gifts, and packing up and delivering it all to 75 Peachland residents. This year, the Rotary provided the gifts, the Legion provided the kitchen and prep space (branch manager Nikki Montgomery was there bright and early!) The Peachland Wellness Centre would like to thank all the volunteers, along with local business Effective Printing for the promo posters. The day was a big success!
When life takes a turn for the worse, Peachland is the kind of place where people are willing to help. The Wellness Centre shared some of these stories for their 12 Days of Christmas campaign. They managed to add four more monthly donors, which helps people like Claire (not her real name). She was recently diagnosed with kidney failure. It was a stressful time, she said, and because she now had to be at Kelowna General Hospital three times a week for dialysis it was suggested she move away from her Peachland home, where she’s been for 15 years. Taxi rides are really expensive, and because Claire lives alone with no family nearby, she decided to reach out for help. Now, a friendly volunteer named Andrew (also not his real name) drives her into Kelowna for her appointments, and she’s beyond grateful:
“My life had taken a total turn. I really needed help. I am so thankful for the Wellness Centre. Not sure what I would have done without them.”
No matter the time of year, you can have a direct impact on helping someone in your community! The PWC website has all the details.
The Peachland Wellness Centre was one of four local groups who benefitted from the virtual gala recently hosted by the Peachland Recovery Task Force! Leading up to the big Dec. 4 event (which raised just over $12,400), I talked to the PWC’s Christina MacMaster about 2020 and their biggest challenges:
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 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.”
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 send an etransfer 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.