For the first time in close to four decades of helping local residents, Oak Bay Volunteer Services has issued an urgent appeal for donations.
For 39 years, the agency has matched volunteers with Oak Bay residents, mostly seniors, in need of vital daily services. Volunteers provide one-to-one support with activities such as drives to medical appointments, visits, walks, daily reassurance phone calls for those living alone, reading, minor repairs, gardening, help with tax returns and much more.
Today, however, the agency faces a confluence of funding challenges, says Joan Halvorsen, executive director of Oak Bay Volunteer Services.
In addition to some of the agency’s major grants being reduced or delayed, OBVS has not received any bequests this year, as it has in the past.
OBVS continues to work with its major funders and look at other opportunities, however it is asking the community for financial support to help it raise the $80,000 currently needed.
Halvorsen says she’s confident the community will help the agency continue supporting clients’ quality of life. “We’re quite hopeful that we will come up with the funding. The community has always been very supportive,” she says.
At any given time, OBVS has about 200 volunteers working with 475 clients; of those clients, 84 per cent are age 65 and older and 76 per cent are women, Halvorsen notes. The agency undertakes an assessment of each client’s needs and also works with family members where appropriate.
“It’s an integral part of the community…we are providing a really essential service for people.”
Oak Bay Volunteer Services can provide charitable tax receipts for donations. Anyone considering a planned giving donation is also urged to contact the agency. “We ask that people please give generously if you can at this time of urgent need to help us to provide the valuable one-to-one volunteer services to residents of Oak Bay,” says Bronwyn Taylor, chair of the OBVS board of directors. “We thank all who have supported us over the years. It is our hope that present and new philanthropic donors will come forward.”