Through generous donations, the Ponoka and District Health Foundation (PDHF) is nearing the amount needed to purchase 10 new beds and mattresses for long term care at the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre.
Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Festival of Trees was cancelled, and an ‘Unfestival of Trees’ fundraising campaign, asking for monetary donations for the cause, was held instead.
As of Dec. 31, 2020, close to $73,000 had been raised.
“We were fortunate to have several large donations that made a difference,” said PDHF chair Dorothy Ungstad.
The total fundraising goal of the campaign was $125,000. A minimum was needed of roughly $90,000, as each bed and mattress pair costs about $9,000.
“We didn’t quite get there,” said Ungstad.
The foundation does have some casino funds they can use, and Ungstad says they will go ahead and purchase the 10 beds and mattresses and hope that donations continue in the next month or two as people recover from the holiday shopping season, to help cover the shortfall.
In a normal year, planning for the Festival of Trees would begin between January and March, says Ungstad.
With so many things uncertain with the ongoing pandemic, the foundation is unsure if they will go ahead with planning a regular Festival of Trees in 2021, or they will be looking at alternatives.
The PDHF had a meeting with other health foundations recently, and Ungstad says there were a lot of different ideas on how to raise funds.
Some foundations held online auctions, or 50/50 raffle draws, had tribute trees at their hospitals or had donation cans around their town.
“We may be trying some of those,” said Ungstad.
The board was set to discuss the issue at their meeting on Jan. 14.
The foundation is still taking donations for this initiative. Donations can also be made year-round, however those donations would go into the foundation’s general fund rather than the beds for LTC.
Donations can be made by cheque, addressed to the Ponoka and District Health Foundation and mailed to Box 4274 Ponoka, AB, T4J 1R7 or dropped off at the post office.
They can also be mailed or delivered to the hospital at 5800 57 Ave. Ponoka, AB, T4J 1P1.
Donations can also be made online through www.CandaHelps.org, although cheques are preferred.