I want to thank you for inviting me here so that I can tell you about how your generous donation will be used within our organization and to give me a chance to thank you. A special thank you to Cathy and her husband Bob for nominating the VON to be the recipients of this donation. I would also like to thank Tannis who has been wonderful to work with over these past few months. We are absolutely beyond delighted to have been chosen to receive this overwhelming and generous donation.
As many of you may know the VON is Canada’s oldest Health Care Organization. Last year we celebrated 120 years of service.
Started by a woman in the late 1800’s (I always like to stop and acknowledge that fact), the Victorian Order of Nurses was brought about to address the lack of health care in rural areas of Canada where isolated citizens were often dying unnecessarily due to the lack of accessible Heath Care Services. Lady Aberdeen, the wife of our then Governor General, saw this inequity first hand and set out to address it. Over the century that followed, the VON became synonymous with home care and were instrumental during tragedies such as The Great Halifax Explosion, WW 1, the Influenza Epidemic and the Great Depression.
In the 1960’s the VON started to provide Community Support Services to provide further support at home. Focusing on seniors and adults living with disabilities, Community Support Services endeavor to provide independence and dignity to those who need it.
Our VON site, known as WWD, serves all of Wellington County and has an Adult Day Program in Orangeville. Tonight however, as yours is a Guelph Organization, I will focus on what programs your generous donation will be supporting.
In Guelph our main programs are Meals on Wheel, Transportation, SMART Seniors Exercise, Friendly Visiting and Telephone Reassurance and our newest and most unique program, the Senior Supportive Living Program. All of which provide much needed support to the seniors and adults living with disabilities in your community.
Because of the dollars raised by your empathy, we will be able to extend service to more clients and more importantly increase our accessibility and equity by providing subsidized rides and meals to those who are extremely marginalized. This has been an important pillar in the VON’s mission and your help allows us to strengthen that commitment to this community.
I always use the analogy of bricks and mortar when explaining Community Support Services. I see Health Care delivered at home as the Bricks of home care. These are the clinical necessities to address the immediate needs of a patient due to illness or an adverse event.
I look at the Community Support Services that we provide as the mortar that keeps those bricks in place. The rides to medical appointments, a hot meal, assistance navigating a health care options or a chance to improve someone’s mobility are all integral parts in care that allow those people to remain at home safely as long as possible and when most effective, they limit further preventable suffering. Community Support Services are not always seen as necessary, but when you experience their effect first hand, you see they are invaluable.
Thank you to all of you for recognizing the value in what we do and giving us the resources to do more.