The purchase of wheelchairs improves the lives of the inhabitants of qathet
“There are a lot of people who don’t have the resources to access this type of object…” ~ Marg Hodgins
The Powell River Community Foundation (PRCF) provided nearly $11,000 for two special wheelchairs and a mattress system to help keep bedridden qathet area residents in Willingdon Creek Village (WCV) more comfortable.
According to Marg Hodgins, after her son Michael had his third stroke in September 2018 and became totally dependent for all his needs, it quickly became apparent that support for extras was lacking. She and her husband Dave decided to do what they could to help improve the lives of adults with aphasia or mobility impairments as a result of acquired brain injury.
“We have created a fund within the PRCF with the aim that the accrued interest can then be allocated to grant applications for equipment or resources to help those in need as a group rather than specific individuals,” Marg said. “Although our fund does not yet have a lot of interest available for grants, the PRCF was able to award this generous amount for wheelchairs by accessing other available funds.”
Marg said that since WCV cannot directly apply for grants, the Senior Citizens Association Branch 49 was willing to apply and then work with WCV to purchase the two Broda wheelchairs.
“It fits well with the motto of seniors helping seniors,” added Marg. “With Vancouver Coastal Health completing the funds, it was also possible to purchase a SelectAir Max mattress system with foot pillow to help keep bed residents more comfortable.”
According to Alston Miller, president of the Powell River Community Foundation, the organization provided $10,749 for the purchase of the WCV items. The PRCF provided $35,299 in total grants in 2021. Other recipients were Powell River Therapeutic Riding, PRISMA, Miklat Recovery Society, Friends of Film Society of Powell River, BC SPCA-Powell River, Salvation Army and Powell River Seniors’ Society.
Miller said the Hodgins started the Aphasia Fund, so they could direct where they want the money to go, and they chose wheelchairs and mattresses as one of their projects.
“We provided additional funds to purchase the wheelchairs and worked with Willingdon Creek Village to secure additional funds to help pay for the mattress as well,” Miller said. “This is the first grant of its kind.”
Miller said in providing the money there were challenges.
“It was easy to get everyone on board, but going through the proper channels to make the Canada Revenue Agency happy and things like that, we had to do everything between the lines,” Miller said.
The elders pass
That’s where Branch 49 of the Senior Citizens Association came in. Association president Ron Woznow said the Hodgins were both board members, and when they presented the proposal, “it was just a no-brainer.”
“Whenever we can help another organization in the community, we’re there,” Woznow said. “When we saw something that could help people get active, we thought it was awesome.”
Marg said the wheelchairs will be used for people with reduced mobility. She said they provide head, shoulder and leg support for those who are essentially immobile.
“They will be able to hang out in the dining room, in the living room or participate in more activities, rather than spending so much time in their bedroom or in a chair that does not offer as much support or comfort,” added Marg.
She said the wheelchairs could also be used to take residents with reduced mobility around the community, so it’s an amazing addition to the village of Willingdon Creek.
“Two chairs will make a big difference in this setup,” Marg said. “They have people waiting to use them. There are many people who do not have the resources to access this type of object, which is a luxury for many people.
Miller said the PRCF is a grassroots foundation created by and for residents of the City of Powell River and the Qathet Regional District.
“Since 2000, we have been able to help individuals and groups make an ongoing difference in their community,” Miller said. “Essentially, the role of the foundation is to help manage the collection of charitable donations offered by local residents. These donations are held in perpetuity and invested to generate income that will improve the quality of life for the many needy people who live in their community.
“PRCF is a public charity registered with Revenue Canada and enables individuals, small businesses, large corporations and not-for-profit organizations, through donations and bequests, to establish a permanent endowment for their community.”
The PRCF has an annual granting cycle where applications are accepted each year. This year, applications will be accepted from June 1 to September 16. Charities in need of funds can download the current grant application package from prcommunityfoundation.com and/or by emailing [email protected]