Red Cross H.E.L.P. (Hospital Equipment Loan Program) Office
Fax # - 604-485-3284
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Candy Striper Convener
HISTORY OF THE POWELL RIVER HEALTH-CARE AUXILIARY
In November 1945, the Powell River Hospital Auxiliary was formed. The first meeting was held in December. Kay Andrews was the first president and 38
Patient comfort was always the first priority for the auxiliary. The ladies directly helped patients by reading to them, writing letters, and if needed, would do shopping for patients.
Our members provided play therapy for the children’s ward. With permission from doctors and nurses, other volunteers provided beauty counseling and a hairdressing service for the elderly, long-term care or bedridden patients.
Twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays, two of our members would take the Library cart full of books and magazines to each patient. The ladies also brought a tray with free cigarettes, matches, gum, candy bars, combs, writing paper, stamps and similar items.
At Easter, flowers where put on patient’s trays. At Christmas, chocolates where put out at the nurses stations. Christmas trees where put up, and decorated by our Candy Stripers. On Christmas morning, three
volunteers would visit every patient and every patient was given a gift. The Candy Stripers would sing Christmas carols.
Escort duties where added to the Auxilians responsibilities. Members would escort patients to different areas of the hospital, and if necessary, transport discharged patients to their home.
The auxiliary members helped the hospital by making pajamas for patients and mending linens.
The auxiliary held a fall fair which raised $1,000.00 to purchase new linens for the hospital. This fall fair became our annual bazaar.
The auxiliary opened a gift shop in the hospital which was primarily for patient and hospital staff convenience. They sold mainly candy bars, cigarettes, newspapers, toothbrushes, etc.
When hospital insurance was established in B.C. in 1949, Auxiliary funds were redirected to help buy medical equipment for the hospital. The government started replacing linens, but medical equipment was only one-third funded by the government.
Evelyn Black was one of our founders and she started working on the first thrift store in 1963. Evelyn traveled the province to look at several other shops, and started collecting donations. All of those donations where stolen, and Evelyn had to start over! The thrift store named “Superfluity Shop” opened on Tuesdays and Fridays in 1964, and was located in a laundry behind the old hospital.
In 1965 the store expanded its hours to three days a week and changed its name to Economy Cottage. Economy Cottage moved in 1972 to what is now the St. John’s Ambulance station.
When our new hospital opened in 1987, our name changed to Powell River General Hospital Auxiliary.
In 1989 we opened another gift shop in the new Evergreen Extended Care Unit.
From left to right: Ivy (Johnston) Foote, president in 1963-64, Kay Andrews, first president from 1945-47,
Evelyn Black, president in 1951 and 1961-62
The Economy Cottage moved to Alberni Street in 1993, where we are still located. We are now referred to by everyone as The Economy Shop.
In 2003 our name changed again to Powell River Health-Care Auxiliary.
2004 we took over the gift shop at the Olive Devaud Residence.
At this time, our gift shops at the extended care unit and Olive Devaud remain closed due to the lack of volunteers.
Women and men are welcome to join the Powell River Health-Care Auxiliary. Men are always in demand at our Economy Shop! If you would like to join the auxiliary, you can pick up an application form at our Gift Shop in the hospital, or print out the on-line application. Return your completed application form to the Gift Shop.
Requirements to join are a desire to help others and serve our community. You need an auxiliary member to be a sponsor, or we require a letter of reference from your previous or present place of employment or volunteer organization. The letter must accompany your application form which can be found on the Home Page.