They may be mostly retired and they are certainly ladies, but the Hospital Auxiliary in Quesnel’s G.R. Baker Hospital are anything but women of leisure (nor is their singular male volunteer). Their hard work and dedication to the needs of Quesnel patients drives the red-smocked members to achieve incredible accomplishments, This year alone they have donated more than $100,000 worth of much-needed medical equipment to the hospital.
The first meeting of the Auxiliary was at the original Occidental Hotel in 1910 with about 14 members. The Ladies Auxiliary to the Hospital was formed to assist the community in financing a much-needed hospital. Quesnel first two hospitals were converted domestic striations. When the new hospital was built in 1955 the auxiliary became the Auxiliary to G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital. The Ladies part of their name was dropped as men volunteers were added.
Today the members are definitely working members and it takes about 25 members a week to run all the programs they offer.
Patient comfort is still their first priority. Not only do they walk the hospital halls dispensing from their comfort cart various treats to patients, but they also offer comfort bags containing items patients might need and not have such as toiletries and grooming aids. Auxiliary volunteers also arrange for personal TV service for anyone who wants it.
In order to provide the kind of large scale donations to the hospital, the auxiliary has various fund-raising programs such as their ground floor gift shop, TV rentals, recycling, the vending machines and the comfort cart
Each year, on Christmas morning the auxiliary circulates through the hospital dispensing good cheer and lap robes (made by the members) for those forced to remain in hospital over the Christmas season. Usually one of the doctors generously offers to play Santa Claus and auxiliary members and their families sing carols.
“Sometimes we’re off key but its all great fun and the patients enjoy it,” auxiliary president Marlene Connell said.
Each year the auxiliary also hands out a $500 bursary to a local post-secondary student who is pursuing a medical career.
For anyone whose spent any time at all in the hospital you probably know about the annual bake sale, a sold-out event every year, the annual gift shop sale, book sale, various raffles and their appreciation tea and muffin event where they take time to thank the people who help them meet their goals.
Each year various community organizations, companies and just ordinary, everyday people choose to donate to the Hospital Auxiliary and Marlene ispoke on behalf of all the members in saying how grateful they are.
“We’re very proud to wear our red smocks and proud of the contribution we make to our hospital,” she said.
The Hospital Auxiliary finances are the equivalent of a large company, they also function as an investment manager with the endowments providing income from the interest, they have a membership of about 35 and coordinate with consideration and flexibility for everyone. However, Marlene says they mostly have fun. They all love what they do and hope more volunteers will see the value in their organization and know their’s a niche for everyone to take on just what they would like to do.
The Auxiliary meets the first Tuesday of every month in the Lower Boardroom at the hospital and anyone who want to see first hand where they fit and what this incredible organization is doing, can attend, all are welcome.
Give the auxiliary a try, you won’t regret it.