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With the rest of the world last March, we had to quickly adapt to keep our clients, staff and volunteers safe and ensure that we could continue to care for our community in Oxford County. While working remotely we had to find new ways to connect with our community, to be together, to uphold one another and our work. All of this could not have been done without you.

This past year was unpredictable but you helped us through. Your donations helped care for the most vulnerable in our community.

You helped bring smiles to not only the children, adults and seniors in our care, but to our staff and volunteers . We could not be more grateful.

Read below to see some of the incredible things we accomplished this year!

Emergency Grocery Care Boxes

At the start of the pandemic, we learned that access to food, and having enough food to eat were emerging issues in our community. We knew we needed to act. Our VON Oxford team has been working diligently to help feed more than 80 clients during the coronavirus pandemic through the delivery of “Emergency Grocery Care Boxes”. These boxes were generously donated by an RBC Dominion Securities Branch in Woodstock, gift cards from the Sprott Foundation and incredible donors. Each box is filled with fresh produce, protein and basic necessities and were packed thoughtfully by our friends at Sobeys on Springbank Avenue. Each box cost about $100 and will help someone get by for two weeks. We continue to deliver these boxes and gift cards to our community with your help.

Hospice Care is More Important Than Ever

Since the start of the pandemic, Sakura House has seen a lot of changes in safety protocols, visitor regulations and health measures, but one thing hasn’t changed, our care. Our staff are working tirelessly to make sure that our patients and their families are receiving the best hospice care while keeping them safe. This kind of care is only made possible because of you, our donors. You help make every moment special, even during a pandemic. We continue to bake cookies, arrange bouquets of flowers, and take time to have conversations because of you. You help us ensure that the end of life is as beautiful as the beginning. You give our patients and family members the respect, peace, and dignity they deserve. Thank you.

Keeping the Joy in Children’s Grief

Our Kids’ Circle Grief Groups have been busy! Twice a month they have been meeting virtually to talk about big feelings, have supportive discussions and activities. They have taken part in fun Virtual events like a Paint Night to Celebrate Children’s Grief Awareness Day, and our 3rd annual Christmas Bake & Take. Kits for these events are happily “porch-dropped” by our Kids’ Circle fairies and done together virtually. Each activity includes treats and a way to meaningfully connect to their deceased loved one. These events add joy and laughter for a moment of time in the lives of the children and families missing a loved one. As we continue to support grieving children and families, it’s important to be aware that joy and sorrow can be in our lives at the same time.

SMART Exercise Classes are now Virtual!

Our Falls Prevention and SMART Exercise Team have done an incredible job in transitioning our exercise classes to be virtual. They are offering eight virtual classes a week that include both standing and seated sessions. Our resident Kinesiologist, Tory has also taken to Facebook to share tips on how to prevent slips and falls during the pandemic. If you are 55 years or older or have a disability, have access to internet in your home, and are interested in our SMART Exercise program, call 1-888-866-7518 to register. Classes are free and training for the Zoom platform is provided if needed. We hope you will join us!

Sakura House has a New Entrance!

We were excited to safely celebrate the unveiling of the Booth Family Atrium on November 24th, 2020 with a small outdoor ceremony. Catherine Booth and Michael Kirk and Kevin and Rhona Booth, and their two children Chelsea and Brittany, were in attendance to cut the ceremonial ribbon. The family had made a generous gift to VON Sakura House in 2018 in honour of their parents, Walter and Marilyn Booth, who are no longer with us. The gift enabled Sakura House to complete two important projects: to build a new glass atrium at the front entrance and waterproof the front basement walls. The new entrance will bring comfort and shelter to patients and family members all-year-round and in any weather conditions.

A New Grief & Bereavement Education Series: Mourning Chats

When the pandemic first hit and funerals/memorials were scaled back or cancelled, our Grief and Bereavement Coordinators, Nancy and Anne Marie knew that our community would be struggling with their grief. So, in August, they started a video education series called “Mourning Chats” to teach you and your loved ones about grief, bereavement, mourning, and everything in between. They highlight information and tips for both adult’s and children’s bereavement. You can watch all of the episodes on our YouTube, Facebook and Instagram pages and share with family or friends who may be traveling through their grief and bereavement journey. New episodes are uploaded every Monday. We hope they help you and your loved ones.

Transportation Rides Reducing Isolation

Our transportation program was one of our programs that never stopped during the pandemic because of you. Our small but dedicated group of drivers ensure that seniors and adults with disabilities continue to get to their medical appointments. Our clients call to express their gratitude for the ride and for having the time in the vehicle to socialize, even if it’s only for a short ride. Most have gone long periods without contact from others during this pandemic. Our drivers are doing all they can to keep safe and do their part to ensure safe travel to and from their appointments even if that means longer wait times at medical facilities for screening. In addition to the Transportation service, some of the drivers have been able to help with Meals on Wheels deliveries and the Grocery Buddy Program.

A Successful First Virtual Hike for Hospice

In the midst of a global pandemic, you graciously participated in the very first virtual Hike for Hospice and you helped exceed our fundraising goal. With over 200 participants and $83,037 raised, our first ever Virtual Hike for Hospice was a complete success because of you. You joined us virtually from across Oxford County to the United States, hiking your favourite trails, in your neighbourhoods, and in the places that matter most to you, to celebrate the life of your loved ones and celebrate the care your family received at Sakura House. This is an amazing accomplishment by the Oxford County community! All of the funds you helped raise go towards the day-to-day operations of the house, providing care and comfort to our patients and families

Sakura Lit Up for the First Time in 11 Years!

On December 10th, 2020 you helped us turn the lights on at Sakura House for the first time in our 11 year history. Over 350 lanterns were lit to celebrate the memory of your loved ones who have died, and honoured those close to our hearts. Our virtual event had musical performances, and a memorial ceremony. You helped us raise $102,674 for Sakura House. Your donations will go towards the Sakura House Recovery Fund to help cover the increased costs due to the pandemic, including extra nursing care, extra cleaning and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as gowns, masks and gloves. It will also help recover the loss in memorial donations we experienced due to changes at funerals and memorials.

ADP Adapting to Changes after 36 Years

The VON Oxford Adult Day Program has never seen such a change in the 36 years that we have been running until we had to close suddenly due to Covid-19 precautions. Thankfully due to our amazing staff, the support of our funders, and management, we have been able to reopen services in a limited capacity and provide over 917 monthly packages and 2,165 weekly client phone calls to 119 clients since the start of the pandemic. This has helped staff, clients and caregivers stay connected and provided connection with a small sampling of the ADP activities “In a Bag”, for clients and caregivers to enjoy. A few participants were even able to enjoy a physically distanced and festive Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner at our Woodstock, Ingersoll, and Tillsonburg locations.


From the Bottom of Our Hearts, Thank You

As we reflect on all of the events of 2020, VON Oxford would like to thank you. Thank you for the trust you have placed in us with the care of your loved ones and for all you have done throughout 2020 to support our incredible staff, patients and families.

This has been such an unpredictable year, but we know that the love and support we receive from our community has shined above all else. You thought of others who are living with a terminal illness and extended your hand of support to them. Your help makes sure our community and over 800 clients we serve remain safe and healthy at home. The coronavirus pandemic may have changed how we deliver our care, but you are helping us adapt to these changes and meet critical needs of our clients and their families. We could not be more grateful.

We would be lying if we say it has not been challenging, but it has been incredibly rewarding to take care of our community.  We could not do it without you. Thank You!


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Dear Donors and Friends of VON Oxford & Sakura House:

I want to tell you about my Mom, Helen. She loved her garden. She loved to chat. And, she loved to help others.

Her connection to Sakura House was very special. For almost ten years, my Mom would go and sit with patients. If patients wanted to be read to, she would read. If they wanted to talk, she would listen. She would often sit with patients through the night. Staff would call and she would always come. Her routine was to arrive around eight o’clock and she would stay with a patient until the morning.

My Mom knew how important hospice care was for patients and families. She often spoke of how special the nurses, doctors and her fellow volunteers were. And, she knew how important donors were too. She would be proud to know her story is inspiring others to give. I hope her story will inspire you to make a gift today.

When my Mom’s health started to worsen, she knew where she would go. She knew she would go to Sakura House. She wasn’t afraid. It was like coming home.

I will never forget her last birthday. I remember walking into Sakura on December 3rd and hearing music. I walked down to the Great Room and found my Mom, surrounded by family, staff and volunteers.

Word had gotten out that my Mom loved playing the piano and listening to music. So, one of the nurses had taken it upon herself to invite two students to play for my Mom on her birthday. They had wheeled her bed down right down next to the piano. I could see the joy on her face.

When we were wheeling her bed back to her room after the party, she was eating her birthday cake with her hands. I tried to give her a fork, but she said “I don’t care!” and chuckled all the way back to her room. This moment of joy was made possible because of donors like you.

My Mom spent six weeks at Sakura, leading up to Christmas. The nurses would pop in and share stories of their times together. It was a time where our family would stop in to visit when we could. And, the staff took care of us too. They made sure you had a muffin or cookie or a bowl of soup. Everything was homemade too. There was a different soup each day and it was made with love. There’s a lot to be said for that. Those small things really made a difference.

I saw nurses in uniform, but they had a slower pace to them. It wasn’t like a hospital. You don’t have the buzzers. It was like a hotel room. I found it so welcoming and so did Mom.

Sakura House provided compassionate end-of-life care at no cost to our family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. A skilled team of nurses, personal support workers, physicians, a social worker and specially trained volunteers were there to help when we needed them most. I did not realize that Hospice care is covered only partially by government funding so they need to raise more than $600,000 each year to cover the gap. That is why your donation is so important. Especially this year. The pandemic has cancelled fundraising events and impacted memorial donations and your help is needed.

On Christmas Eve, we knew my Mom could hear us. She was asleep. We told her that her work here is done and it was okay to leave. We didn’t want to see her go but we wanted to give her the permission to leave. My Mom died on December 24, 2019 at eight o’clock that night. I am comforted knowing that she was at peace. She felt at home. I am positive her spirit lives on. She touched a lot of people. They will remember her.

This holiday season, please consider a gift to VON Oxford Sakura House in honour of my Mom’s passion to help others. Her time spent with patients in those wee hours of the night will never be forgotten. Thank you for considering a gift this holiday season.


Doug Hart

Son of volunteer and patient Helen Hart

P.S. You can help make a family’s life a little easier with a gift to Sakura House. Your donation is needed now to give comfort to patients and their families. Donate by midnight on December 31st.

Our offices are closed for the holidays on December 25th & 28th and January 1st.

In order to receive your 2020 charitable income tax receipt, please make your year-end gift online by midnight on December 31st  If you are sending in a cheque, please ensure your envelope is date-stamped by Canada Post on the 31st.

You can also donate easily and securely via credit card at:

VON Oxford:

VON Sakura House:

Thank you for supporting VON Oxford! If you need immediate assistance, please call Shannon at 226-888-7259 or email our team at

We hope you have a wonderful holiday!


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Donate to remember your loved one and help raise funds to support patients and families at Sakura House.

Our Handbags for Hospice Committee presents Lights of Love as a special opportunity to celebrate our hospice and remember your loved ones during this holiday season.

You can help light up Sakura House for the first-time ever with a donation. Make a minimum donation of $25 in memory of a loved one or in honour of our dedicated staff and volunteers.

You have until December 10th to purchase your light, when will host a live virtual Lighting Ceremony to turn on the lights. All donations will go towards the Sakura House Recovery Fund.

The Sakura House Recovery Fund will help cover the increased costs due to the pandemic, such as extra nursing care, extra cleaning and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as gowns, masks and gloves. It will also help recover the loss in memorial donations we experienced in the Spring, due to changes at funerals and memorials.

Your Lights of Love donation will provide comfort, dignity and respect for patients and families during the holidays. If you would like to include your loved one’s name and/or a special message in our online video tribute and on a remembrance lantern at the ceremony, please make sure to include this information on your donation formNote: If you do share this information, please know that all names and messages will be shared with our community on our website and social media.

Help us reach our Lights of Love goal of $50,000 by December 10th. Let’s remember and celebrate the lives of our loved ones. Purchase your light today!

Our Lights of Love Campaign will run from November 10th to December 10th.

Email or call 519-539-1231 ext. 221 for any questions

Thank You to our 2020 Sponsors

Love Sponsor

Light Sponsor

Comfort Sponsor


Joy Sponsor

Peace Sponsor 

BDO Canada LLP – Dortmans Bros Barn Equipment – Harvest Crossing – Impacked Limited – Oxford ProResp– Scotiabank –


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You can choose to support VON Sakura House or VON Oxford when you register!

This virtual VON Trivia Challenge event will be happening across Ontario and Nova Scotia, including right here in Oxford County, on Friday, November 13th at 7:00pm.  

The cost is $25 and you can register on your own or create your own team of colleagues, friends or family members. This event is open to everyone! 

The cool thing is that you can direct your registration fee (minus fees) to VON Sakura House or VON Oxford! When you sign-in on the night of the game, you will be asked which VON site you are supporting from a drop-down list. Online registration is now open! (You will be directed to the VON Middlesex website to register)

ABOUT THE EVENT: After 24 years of success in Middlesex-Elgin, the VON Trivia Challenge is going virtual for 2020 presented by RBC Dominion Securities. This means that VON sites across Ontario and Nova Scotia can now participate and each community can support their local VON programs! We hope you will join us in an evening of fun facts and cash prizes all in support of VON Sakura House and VON Oxford.

WHO: Anyone can join and play from anywhere. Play as a team of one or an unlimited number of team members. (Your place in the standings will be calculated by the accuracy and speed of each team members answers.) Students registering with their school email address can request a promo code and save $10.

HOW: Purchase your $25 game ticket through website. Be sure to include your correct email address. Please note: Ticket purchases do not qualify for a tax receipt as each participant is provided with equal opportunity to win a prize.

ONE WEEK BEFORE: All participants will be contacted and asked for their team name so it can be pre-loaded into the Trivia Game Portal. (If one person is registering the entire team, they will require a separate email address for each player)

MORNING OF THE EVENT: November 13, 2020 each participant will receive their personalized login link to the Trivia Game Portal via their individual email address.

Will open up at 6 pm (ET) on November 13, 2020 with the Game set to begin at 7pm. (ET). Please plan to register before 7 pm through the link provided using your Name and Address (in order to receive prizes by mail.) You will also require your email address and your team name (previously provided), which can be selected from a drop-down list.

When you register on the night of the game, you will be asked which VON site (in Ontario or Nova Scotia) you are supporting and you will have the opportunity to select your local site from a drop-down list.


The Game will include 10 rounds of questions from various subject areas, targeting a diverse audience. Questions may include photos, video clips, sounds, etc. Please ensure that your sound is on during the game. Each participant on your team will be required to provide an answer for each question through whichever technology they are playing. (Computer, tablet or cell phone)

GAME PRIZES (shared between the number of members on your team)
1ST PLACE  $2,500
2ND PLACE  $1,000
3RD PLACE  $500

There will be a prize at the end of each round for the individual with the most accurate and fastest average for that round. (Prizes will be mailed out after the event) Scores will be determined by the accuracy of the answer combined with the time to answer and team scores will be averaged by the number of players.

QUESTIONS? Please contact or

*You will be directed to the VON Middlesex-Elgin to register.


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We are living in unprecedented times and in our attempts to remain healthy and safe, we have been asked to practice physical distancing. For many experiencing the death of a loved one, this comes at a time when you need the presence of others the most. Funeral and memorial services are being postponed, thus impacting an important part of the grief process.
VON can provide you with a supportive and a compassionate ear during this difficult time. We are here to help with bereavement support over the telephone or virtually by ZOOM.
You are not alone.
For further information, please contact one of our Hospice & Bereavement Coordinators:
Nancy Clark
519-539-1231 ext. 286 –
Anne Marie Wallace Phillips
519-537-8515 ext. 3 –


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Hike for Hospice 2020

Brought to you by Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, the 2020 Hike for Hospice will take place VIRTUALLY on Saturday, September 19, 2020.


How can we possibly begin to say thank you?

In the midst of a global pandemic, our community joined together on September 19th to support care at VON Sakura House. With over 200 participants and $83,037 raised, our first ever Virtual Hike for Hospice was a complete success because of you. This is an amazing accomplishment by the Oxford County community!

Our community joined together in their own ways to honor their loved ones, honor patients and families currently at Sakura House, and to honor our incredible staff and volunteers. Our hearts are so full with all of the stories, photos and videos that you have shared with us and it truly shows that despite the changes our world have seen this year we continue to be surrounded by the most incredible community.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, to our Tile Sponsor Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, all of our Hikers, Sponsors, Committee and Volunteers for all of your incredible work in making this year a complete success


To view photos from the 2020 Virtual Hike for Hospice, visit our Facebook Page HERE.


On Saturday, September 19th we would have been joined by hundreds of supporters taking on one of our three routes at Roth Park while raising money for VON Sakura House Residential Hospice. Although sadly that isn’t possible this year, we know how much our supporters love taking part in this event in memory of a loved one or with family and friends and we wanted to make sure you still had the chance to do this whilst supporting Sakura House- Oxford County’s only residential hospice!

This means you can hike, walk, run, cycle in your neighbourhood, park, on your treadmill, or wherever you please!

We need your support, enthusiasm, and energy to reach our goal of $80,000. We know that these are challenging times for all of us, but we hope that bringing teams, families, and friends together virtually for Sakura House will be a safe and positive thing. And, that together we can reach this goal with all of you! Because our patients and families deserve the best hospice care

Through the generosity of our sponsors, Hikers and the Oxford County community Hike for Hospice has raised over $872,000 over the past 17 years!

You can hike has an individual or form a team. Hikers register for free and get a t-shirt and access to their own fundraising page, where you can start asking family members, friends and co-workers to sponsor you.

Join us virtually on September 19th!


Our 2020 Virtual Hike for Hospice will take place Saturday, September 19, 2020!

Registration is now OPEN visit our event website and sign up!

Hike for Hospice – Extra Pledge Form

For Fun Fundraising Ideas visit here


On the following dates and times, our staff and volunteers will be in the parking lot of 550 Ingersoll Ave, Woodstock where you can safely drop off your pledge forms and donations, pick up your event t-shirt and water bottle*, and place a flower on our memorial tree :

Monday Sept 14, 2020– 10:00am-4:00pm
Tuesday Sept 15, 2020 – 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm
Wednesday Sept 16, 2020 – 10:00am to 4:00pm
Thursday Sept 17, 2020 – 4:00pm to 6:30pm
Friday Sept 18, 2020 – 10:00am to 4:00pm
Saturday Sept 19, 2020– 9:00am to 12:00pm


*Must be a registered Hiker and have raised $250 or more confirmed gifts at the time of pickup



This event is made possible in large part because of our dedicated community of sponsors.

2020 Sponsorship Opportunities

To find out more about sponsorship opportunities and advantages for the 2020 Hike for Hospice, contact Trish Gergich at or 519-539-1231×269 or Kristina De Marzio at or 519-709-8332


Sincere thanks to our Hike for Hospice 2020 Sponsors

Title Sponsor

HB Logo - TMMC

Media Sponsor

Platinum Sponsor

Gold Sponsors



Trail Sponsors

AgroSpray Ltd. | Brock & Visser Funeral Home | DMAC Automation Ltd. | Finoro Homes Ltd | Glendinning Funeral Home | John & Liz Lessif | Roes-Zehr Electric Ltd.  | Vuteq Canada Inc.

Prize Sponsors

Angel of Tea | Bliss Beauty Bar by Kari | Bombs Away Bath Bombs & Bath Products | Boston Pizza Woodstock | Drumbo Dog Spaw | Giant Tiger WoodstockGrazing Hill Charceuterie | Kim’s Floral Kreations  | Miss Woodstock Restaurant | Rachael Little Photography  | Teal Anchor Boutique  | The Collared Pooch | The Country Table Frozen Food OutletThe Shop in Princeton: An Artesian Market | Sweet Snax by Sarah




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VON Oxford has created a Covid-19 Response Fund to address urgent food security needs in our community.

“A meal is hope and love.” Oprah

Our VON Oxford team has been working diligently to help more than 800 clients during the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve had to close programs and send our volunteers home. But, right away we started doing check-in calls and making resource packages. We redeployed our staff to help screen visitors at VON Sakura House and to take on the delivery routes for our Meals on Wheels program.

It has been a challenging time but it has also been incredibly rewarding to take care of our community. After six weeks of checking in and listening to clients, we are hearing that access to food and having enough food to eat are emerging issues. We knew we needed to act and we are now asking for your help.

VON Oxford has identified these funding priorities for our local VON Oxford Covid-Response Fund:

  1. Emergency Food Delivery: A donation of $20 covers the average cost of a trip to deliver groceries to an individual’s home in rural Oxford County.

  2. Emergency Grocery Care Boxes: A donation of $100 will pay for grocery care box that will support someone for up to two weeks.

  3. Home Help Subsidies: A donation of $16.50 will cover the one-hour cost of our Home Help program that helps individuals with grocery pick-up, meal preparation and laundry services.

  4. Meals on Wheels Subsidies: A donation of $20 will provide $2.00 subsidies to 10 individuals who are struggling with the cost of a meal.

Will you help someone in Oxford County today?

You can donate now to the VON Oxford Covid-19 Response Fund.


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VON Oxford is operating these essential programs during the Coronavirus Pandemic:

If you need support or know someone who could benefit from these programs or other community supports, please call 1-888-866-7518 (toll-free) or email


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COVID-19 Update:
In response to the risk of COVID-19, VON Oxford has made the decision to close group/congregate programs effective immediately and until further notice.
This includes the following programs;
• SMART exercise classes
• Dining Programs
• Grief and bereavement groups
• Blood Pressure Clinics
Other programs continue to run at this time. Our staff are completing screeners on ALL clients prior to providing service. If they experience any symptoms, clients are moved to a cough corner and sent home immediately. Those who live with someone who is in self isolation should not attend work/programs.
Programs continuing to run at this time are as follows;
• Adult Day and Overnight Respite programs
• Meals on Wheels
• Transportation – medical appointments only
• Home at Last
VON is encouraging that our staff work from home if possible. Instead of coming into our office, we encourage:
Clients to make their bill payments online through their banks, call in a credit card payment or mail a cheque;
Donors to make donations online (, call in a credit card donation or mail a cheque;
Cheques can be mailed to VON Oxford at 550 Ingersoll Avenue, Woodstock, ON N4S 4Y3
Please call 519-539-1231 for any questions related to programs. If you have questions about donations or your 2019 charitable tax receipt, please email or call 519-476-8848.


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Are you looking for a meaningful part-time job in community healthcare? We are currently hiring casual Home Helpers to work in Woodstock, Norwich and Plattsville.

What is a Home Helper? A Home Helper does light housekeeping for clients in their home, prepares meals, provides companionship and conversation to the clients and observes and evaluates the individual’s/family’s home, personal situation and client/family care plan to ensure proper care.

This position is only required during the day, not evenings, and has flexible work hours. Read the job description here:

Apply today to help individuals in our community stay in their home and live their lives to the fullest.

Accreditation Canada is an independent, not-for-profit organization that consults with experts to develop health care standards based on best practices. They accredit a wide range of health care and social services providers, including hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, clinics, and community health programs. Accreditation Canada has been helping providers improve health care quality and safety for more than 55 years.

Copyright by VON Oxford 2018. All rights reserved.