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!