KGH Staff Thankful for Community Generosity

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Heading into the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, staff at Kelowna General Hospital and local health care facilities are extending their heartfelt gratitude to the community for their latest outpouring of support.

They are referring to several initiatives in recent weeks made possible by donations to the KGH Foundation’s White Heart Project. The call in early September to give to support care and comforts for health care staff in the face of demoralizing demonstrations outside B.C. hospitals was met swiftly by individuals and businesses from across the Central Okanagan. Since early September, nearly $50,000 has been donated specifically to support White Heart Project initiatives.

“We want our health care workers to know that we see them and support all they have done throughout this pandemic,” says Patti DiMaria from Bella Rosa Orchards, who provided hundreds of pounds of freshly harvested Okanagan fruit for the staff care packages sent to units at KGH and health care facilities this past week.

Tina Joslin, owner Oranj Fitness, is working with the Foundation to provide free, weekly yoga and fitness classes in a safe environment for Interior Health staff for the next several months. 

“It’s been very popular,” says Joslin. “It’s an opportunity to breathe and sweat and release some of the tremendous load they’ve been carrying. They need it.”

In-kind donations and cash gifts have also ensured that health care staff, both at KGH and in the community, have an abundance of free coffee, thanks to local businesses including; Tim Horton’s Mission Park, Canadian Tire & on Hollywood Rd; The Bread Company; Starbucks Guisachan, Mission Park, Bluebird Rd. & Bertram St.; Capri CMW; Cherry Hill Coffee; Grace Zhu and several other generous individuals. 

“Our health care professionals take such good care of us,” says Lori Olsvik, owner of the three participating Tim Horton’s locations. “So we need to do what we can to take care of them.”

At KGH, a Wobble Room has been set up exclusively for hospital staff to have quiet space to read, rest and participate in staff wellness initiatives. A local running group, Valley First Credit Union, Central Okanagan Teachers Association and several anonymous donors have purchased gift cards to the Perking Lot, KGH’s coffee shop for distribution to hospital staff. 

“Our staff have faced pressures both physically and psychologically through this pandemic which mounts to high levels of burnout and fatigue.” says Robyn Goplen, RN and Manager of Outpatient Cardiac Services at KGH.  “These gestures of kindness and gratitude coming from our community are so appreciated.  It really helps.  My colleagues and I are very thankful for the generosity.”   

“It’s important that we share these kinds of stories with our community,” says Doug Rankmore, CEO of the KGH Foundation, “They demonstrate that the majority of folks and businesses are standing together in support of the work our incredible health care staff do. Gratitude continues to prevail.”

To make a donation in support of the White Heart Project, visit the KGH Foundation website.  Local businesses with in-kind offers are encouraged to tag their offers with #whiteheartinkind on social media so health care staff can easily locate opportunities.

On behalf of its donors, the KGH Foundation extends deep gratitude to our local health care workers, and warm wishes for a happy, healthy, safe Thanksgiving for all.