This month we continue looking at some of the volunteer opportunities in our communities. It is well-documented that people who are involved with their community, are not ony happier, but healthier and live better, longer lives. Time is the greatest gift you can give, yet in giving we get back tenfold.
In this and future editions of TAKE 5 we will be highlighting volunteer opportunities within local service clubs, and not-for-profit groups.
There is a wide range of clubs, groups and organizations that have one thing in common — they all need volunteers.
If you have a few hours a month that you can spare please, contact us so we can add you to our Volunteer Match list. Please specify any area of interest, skills or time, dates availablity and we will match you up. It’s that easy. Email editor [at] take5 [dot] ca or drop by our office to fill out a form.
Ladysmith Healthcare Auxiliary
The Ladysmith Healthcare Auxiliary began in 1909 as a small group of local women donating their services to perform various tasks at the local hospital. Over the years, the organization and functions of the auxiliary progressed and expanded from in-hospital help and small fundraising events to become a vibrant community entity with over 250 members that operates various healthcare associated programs. Bake sales and bazaars have given way to one of the best thrift stores on the island, as well as a well-stocked gift shop located in the Ladysmith Community Health Centre (1111 4th Ave., Ladysmith).
The Gift Shop has been a part of the Ladysmith Community Health Centre since it was a fully-functioning hospital. It started as a service enterprise for patients and their families using the hospital. It was originally located in a tiny space where the “quiet” room is now situated. Snacks, such as pop, potato chips, candy bars, magazines and newspapers, were offered by candy stripers wheeling these goods on a cart. Children were often provided with colouring books and crayons. However, hand-knitted and crocheted items for purchase, lovingly crafted by local ladies, were always a staple of the Gift Shop. Children from the nearby school would often pop by — then known as the “Tuck Shop” — to buy their afternoon treats and mill around to socialize. When the extended care facility was created, the Gift Shop became a welcoming social hub where seniors could purchase their treats and socialize with volunteers.
The Gift Shop eventually moved to its present location in the Ladysmith Community Health Centre — to the left as you enter the main door of the facility. It is now a small but viable entity, under the auspices of the Ladysmith Healthcare Auxiliary, whose proceeds are directed toward health and wellness-related initiatives in the Ladysmith and area communities.
The Gift Shop offers a small staple of snacks and goodies, but its claim to fame is the treasure-trove of reasonably priced and beautifully handcrafted knitted, crocheted and quilted items, Christmas decorations and seasonal articles, cloth bags, socks, toques, blankets and handmade kitchen items, such as cotton washcloths, potato jackets and casserole carriers, among other locally crafted and items.
Life in the Gift Shop changed abruptly when, on July 26, 2019, it was forced to close due to a random act of vandalism. Vandals sprayed shop items with a fire extinguisher, covering surfaces with a toxic dust that resulted in a complete loss of foodstuffs, baby and children’s articles, and handmade blankets and crafts. Some articles were cleaned and deemed saleable by the restoration company. However, many more items were destroyed.
Good news has come out of this story, however, as thanks to the unbelievable support of the Ladysmith and surrounding communities, the Gift Shop was able to reopen with the help of hardworking volunteers, generous and lavish donations of wool, hand-knitted baby outfits and blankets, toques, socks and quilted items. The outpouring of generosity to re-stock the store came from as far as from Seattle, Washington — and the inventory in the Gift Shop has never been as plentiful. We are grateful to the Ladysmith community for its unwavering support! Please contact them to volunteer.
Citizens on Patrol
“The police can’t be everywhere,” says Jim Hall, Ladysmith Citizens on Patrol (LCOPS) Speed Watch Coordinator.
That’s where this hard-working group comes in.
Ladysmith Citizens on Patrol (LCOP) was started in 1993 by a group of volunteers from the Community Policing Program at the request of the Community Police Advisory board. One of the first tasks they undertook was patrolling the streets of Ladysmith on Halloween night. At one point during the evening, one of the cars was called to the hospital (now the Ladysmith Community Health Centre), and on their way, they spotted a fire started by some youth. The LCOP volunteers quickly put out the fire and saved the owners from a potential disaster.
LCOP works with the local RCMP detachment and act as extra eyes and ears, reporting suspicious events to the police. Patrols are mainly on Friday and Saturday evenings, but may also take place at other times, at the request of the RCMP.
LCOP, in conjunction with ICBC, also performs speed watch deployments throughout the community. Speed signs and radar signboards, provided by ICBC, are set up to make drivers aware of how fast they are travelling. Distracted driving can also be noted. Along with the patrols and speed watch deployments, the volunteers also assist with traffic/parking control at events within the town.
The Friday and Saturday patrols are typically four hours in length, using the Town of Ladysmith-provided van manned by two volunteers. the speed watch deployments, during the day, last approximately two hours.
For Hall, the camaraderie with fellow members as well as getting to know the community has been a deeply rewarding experience.
To volunteer, you must be aged 19 or older and complete a criminal record check to join LCOP.
If you are interested in joining Ladysmith Citizens on Patrol, application forms can be picked up at the RCMP detachment or call 250-714-3510.