Auxiliary in dire need of helpers

By Angelica Ingram

Tracey Lear is fearful of what the future holds for the Haliburton Hospital Auxiliary.

President for almost four years Lear doesn’t have enough fingers on her two hands to count how many executive members the organization is going to lose next June.

The volunteer got involved with the organization after she moved up to the area permanently in 2009.

“You know when you first start and they say oh somebody young you think this is great” she jokes.

“But then that’s the problem … you’re the youngster … [the others] have held these positions they’ve done these fundraisers for years and years and years and it’s time for someone else to step up but there’s no someone.”

Lear remembers when her mother used to be a hospital volunteer which inspired her to get involved in her community.

Growing up Lear didn’t think much of it but following her mother’s passing she began to go through her belongings and realized what a significant impact the volunteering had.

“You think … that’s what Mom does she goes and volunteers isn’t that cute” said Lear. “Then after my mom passed away in January 2009 you know you’re tidying up stuff and I’ve got her little jacket and I’ve got her volunteer of the year award and then you think that was a big deal and I should have paid more attention.”

It was not long after this realization Lear decided to get involved with the local auxiliary.

At this time the Haliburton auxiliary has 62 members but more are welcome and needed. The organization is open to both women and men of any age.

The time commitment is very low with three executive meetings held a year and eight general membership meetings a year said Lear.

Executive members are required to step down after finishing their terms as mandated by the auxiliary’s bylaws which are overseen by a provincial association of auxiliaries.

The group raises funds to purchase hospital equipment through multiple events and initiatives such as the popular Italian dinner and silent auction hosted in October the wheelbarrow of wine draw a quilt raffle Tag Day and the Geranium Tea. They also oversee the gift shop located within the hospital.

There are many positive aspects to being involved with the auxiliary including social benefits.

“When you’re 75 or 80 years old it’s a social thing” says Lear. “So you come every first Wednesday of the month and you see your friends.”

And most importantly it’s fun says Lear.

The president says she understands how volunteers can get overworked and tired as she finds it’s often the same people offering their time and help to multiple organizations.

She hopes some fresh faces join the auxiliary in the next few years challenging youth and young people to get involved.

“I’m hopeful there is a group that will step up” she said.

The president says all skill sets and talents are welcome doesn’t matter what your forte is.

Items the organization has purchased over the years include a steamer for food services equipment for the ER and items for the long-term care facilities.

Lear lists pressure mattresses and chairs and a slit lamp as just a few of the things they have recently fundraised for.

The president stresses there is no overhead costs for the auxiliary and every dollar donated goes straight towards purchases.

“Last year it was $68000 of equipment that we purchased. The year before was $92000 of equipment. This year we’ve committed to spend $65000” she said. “But we just can’t do it and what happens if we can’t? If we don’t have the people that are going to step up to do that?”

Those interested in joining the auxiliary can contact Lear at 705-457-4032.