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Family comes through for Oak Bay Kiwanis dementia care home

Residents at Victoria care home get new bus, programs
Winter breakfasts at the Willows Tea Room traditionally fund projects and programs for the Kiwanis Pavilion through the Oak Bay Kiwanis Pavilion Foundation. (Black Press Media file photo)

The generosity and heart of the Kiwanis Pavilion families kept the dementia care residence on track, and residents in programming during the toughest leg of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Now that we’re coming out of it a little bit we are starting to talk about doing some different kinds of fundraisers,” said Leslie Johnston, chair of the Oak Bay Kiwanis Pavilion Foundation.

Fundraising usually includes breakfasts at Willows Beach Tea Room from January through April, an annual shredding fundraiser, and a brick sponsorship program. Organizers are hopeful to host the annual shredding event this year, and did do some small breakfast sales before closing shop due to pandemic health and safety measures. Until that time, the takeout egg sandwiches were a hit, Johnston said.

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“We made $1,000 or something which was not to be sneezed at. But it didn’t last long.”

The foundation was established in 1989 to generate and direct donated funds in support of the Kiwanis Pavilion residents. In recent years the foundation has funded things such as music therapy, secure therapeutic gardens and facility upgrades.

“Our foundation family, families of the residents, have been absolutely extraordinary in their donations,” Johnston said.

Some were specifically earmarked, for example, for personal protective equipment but they still found the funding to purchase a bus, acquired in late 2020.

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They’ve also acquired some state-of-the-art programming, hosted an Easter event for residents, and plan to hold an outdoor staff appreciation day this summer.

“They’ve been amazing through this whole thing,” Johnston said.

This spring loved ones were welcomed back, with stringent restrictions. While they were locked out of in-person visits by provincial protocols, a newsletter went out every day filled with tidbits from inside – keeping families connected.

The foundation is starting to get in gear for next year, eagerly watching protocols with ideas about galas and of course the return of breakfasts at Willows.

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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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