By Melissa Londono
From knitting newborn hats and making quilts to fundraising for the hospital’s equipment and a state-of-the-art Medical Imaging unit. More than 800 volunteers at North York General Hospital (NYGH) are definitely doing it all to help raise necessary funds to support staff and physicians at the hospital in making a world of difference for the patients they serve.
Over the years Volunteers Services have raised more than $7 million for the hospital. In 2003, the Volunteer Services Birthing Centre was named to recognize the $1 million it raised. In 2006, Volunteer Services also generously contributed to the new Gulshan & Pyarali G. Nanji Orthopaedic and Plastics Centre soon followed by a pledged to raise $3 million over 10 years for the new Volunteer Services Centre for Medical Imaging.
“For almost 50 years volunteers have dedicated more than three million hours of volunteer service throughout the hospital,” says Sandy Walker, President of Volunteer Services. “Volunteering on the front lines, we have identified opportunities where we can help make a difference in the lives of the patients and families our hospital serves.”
“Thanks to the dedication and commitment of our volunteers, in January 2017 we were able to donate $239,000 towards the Volunteer Services Centre for Medical Imaging pledge that we hope finalize this year.”
One of the big revenue generators for volunteers is the Gift Shop. A team of over 100 volunteers keep the store open and stocked seven days a week, closed only on statutory holidays. The funds raised are donated to the foundation and ultimately the hospital.
“Our volunteers continue to think outside the box to raise funds for our hospital – a place many of them have seen grow and develop over the years,” says Jennifer Bowman, Vice President of People, Strategy and Clinical Support at North York General. “The fundraising initiatives are just one example of volunteers going above and beyond to support the work done at the hospital.”
Funds are also raised through the highly anticipated events throughout the year such as book sales, garage sales and seasonal bake sales, as well as by renting space to external vendors in the onsite Vendors’ Market.
Volunteers have formed invaluable partnerships with people across the community who donate items to their various events and who give through renting the Vendors’ market space at the hospital.
“We are very lucky to have such dedicated volunteers, not only in the areas of fundraising but across the hospital helping our staff, physicians and patients and their families,” notes Jennifer. “Through our Patient and Family Advisors who share their unique thoughts and perspectives to ensure the voices of patients and families are heard, and our Service Volunteers who share their time and talent, delivering compassionate and respectful service to our patients, residents and their families across the hospital’s sites to Spiritual and Religious Care volunteers who provide emotional and spiritual support. Our volunteers play an integral role in making a world of difference for our patients, their families and our community.”
Melissa Londono is a communications officer at North York General Hospital.