The Mission Hospice Society, like all non-profit groups, has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The inability to hold regular fundraisers and the closure of the local casino – which provides much needed funds – has left local non-profits wondering how they can continue to run programs.
Angel Elias, executive director of the hospice society said she is concerned, financially, about 2021 because she doesn’t know how much, if any, gaming funding her group will receive.
“Here’s the reality, if we lose the casino funds, I’m closing programs down and laying off staff,” she said.
To make matters even more dire, Elias doesn’t know if she will be able to host a gala next year either. It all depends on when social distancing ends
“It’s bleak. It’s looking very bleak. We’re busy. We’ve been busy all through COVID. We haven’t stopped working,” said Elias.
The Hospice Society office has reopened to the public, but only in one room, and the support groups have begun to start again. The groups are limited to six people, meaning some of the larger programs have been broken into smaller sessions.
Elias said she has received the emergency relief grant funding of $10,000 and is currently trying to acquire the wage subsidy funding for her staff.
“ But that doesn’t help us for 2021. It helps us right now.”
Two of the society’s other major fundraisers, the Ride For Hospice and Hike For Hospice, are going to take place later in the summer, but as virtual events.
From August 1-15, the Ride For Hospice is set to take place. Participants can register online for $25 and can then collect pledges. Riders can then ride as little or as far as they can in that time from, up to 150 kilometres.
Prizes are being offered for the top three riders with the most pledges. Prizes include a sturgeon fishing package, gift baskets and more.
All the funds raised goes to the society’s palliative and bereavement programs.
During the last week of September, the virtual Hike For Hospice is scheduled.
Again, participants are asked to collect pledges and do their own five kilometre walk, in memory of their lost loved ones.
“Because we lost the gala, and lost those funds, we really need to make these two event go,” said Elias.
She said if the virtual events go well, she can put aside those funds for 2021.
“I need the community’s help here. I need then to participate, or donate.”