After 61 yrs, auxiliary folds

A charitable organization that has supported Kelowna General Hospital for more than 60 years is closing its doors.

A lack of new blood has forced the end for the Winfield Hospital Auxiliary, which began operating in 1956.

President Connie Douma says at its peak, the auxiliary had about 30 members, but in recent years that has dwindled to just 11 or 12.

"It was a difficult decision," she said, "but then in a way, it wasn't."

The group had been sounding the alarm since 2014 that it could close if no new volunteers came forward.

"No one came," said Douma.

The decision to pull the plug was made because of the advancing age of the remaining members.

"Our treasurer is 96; the rest of us are in our seventies or eighties."

Douma has been president since 2007 and says the cooking, shopping and cleaning became too much for the small group. It will fold in January.

The auxiliary operated out of the Winfield Seniors Centre and raised most of its money for the KGH Foundation through catering, holding special occasion dinners and pancake breakfasts.

"We had a concession every year at the annual craft show, and gave a bursary to George Elliott (Secondary) students going into nursing.

"We're not the only ones struggling... every group out there is going through the same thing."

Over the years, the auxiliary gave $5,000 to the Central Okanagan Hospice, $3,000 to the KGH neonatal ward, plus more towards a new CT scanner. In total, it raised more than $150,000 for the hospital.

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