Ridge Meadows Hospice Society is the community’s support system for people who are going through an emotional, oftentimes dark period in their lives.
And volunteers are vital, to both the society and the community it serves.
Established in 1979, the society is a registered not-for-profit charitable organization that serves Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
With five paid staff, the society depends on volunteers, trained to provide support to people who are living with a terminal illness, their family, and their friends. The society is also there for those who have lost someone to a sudden death or suicide.
The society offers support with hospice residence, hospital visitation, home visitation, vigil, and one-on-one bereavement. It also provides children’s bereavement support groups, adult bereavement support groups, a bereavement walking group, a relaxation program, and a resource lending library.
It is the primary provider of hospice care and palliative and grief support in the community, according to executive director Mark Vosper.
“All of our programs and services that we provide are free of charge to anyone within the community,” Vosper said. “That can be in their homes, in the hospice, it can be in the hospital, or it could be in healing groups, here. The importance is huge. And it’s not just adults we cater to. It’s children, it’s the elderly… it’s absolutely anyone in the community.”
Volunteer opportunities are ample, including helping out with community events, fundraising, office duties, visiting volunteers, and bereavement support.
Vosper said the society couldn’t run without support from volunteers.
“And we need volunteers,” he noted.
Since he started with the society this past January, Vosper has been impressed by the amount of volunteerism he has seen from local residents.
“It’s huge,” he said. “We have people who come in and volunteer, and they come back time, and time, and time again. We have had people who have used our services, unfortunately, in their own personal lives, and they come forward and they want to help.”
The hospice is providing an eight-week, 30-hour training course for volunteers who wish to provide support to others who have lost loved ones. Courses are offered twice a year.
“The ideal volunteer would be somebody who sits and listens to other people’s problems,” Vosper said. “We’re not there to advise them how to run their lives; we’re there to sit and listen, and wait because there is no timeline to grieve.”
Each year, the hospice hosts roughly 12 fundraising events, with the next one happening at noon Sunday, Oct. 27 at the Royal Canadian Legion in Maple Ridge.
This annual lunchtime fashion show features clothes and apparel sold at the society’s thrift store at 12011 224 St. and tickets are $20.
“The $20 includes your lunch,” Vosper noted. “[Tickets will] be on sale this week.”
Juliana Cedanna, special events/fundraising coordinator with the society, said Pitt Meadows Mayor Deb Walters and her husband Len will be among the models.
“She is one of our strong supporters,” Cedanna said about Walters. “She did model last year, as well as this year.”
Walters and some of the local councillors attended a recent hospice event.
On Sept. 20, the society hosted an Awesome ’80s Party at the Haney Public House, with raffle draws, door prizes, and a 50/50 draw.
“That went really well,” Vosper said of the evening. “We had a really good turnout. It was lovely to see members of the community and lots of support from the Haney Public House and sponsors from around Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.”
For more about the society or to volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-463-7722. The society office is located at 22320 119th Ave.
Lunchtime fashion show
Each year the Ridge Meadows Hospice Society hosts this fundraiser.
Sunday, Oct. 27
Royal Canadian Legion
12011 224th St.
Tickets - $20
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