The Kimberley Health Care Auxiliary Loan Cupboard recently underwent renovations to help improve the storage of their many items thanks to a donation of $750 from the Home Depot’s Community Involvement Program along with the hard work of Loan Cupboard volunteers.
Andy Bamber, Assistant Store Manager for the Home Depot explained that every year the company donates to local organizations through their community involvement program. Since October of last year, Bamber explained, the Home Depot has donated to more than 40 local organizations.
Kimberley Loan Cupboard volunteer Joan Jobe spearheaded the project. She explained that the Home Depot donated a gift card of $750, while the Loan Cupboard put forth another $300 for the renovations thanks to donations from locals.
Pete Sorensen and Rick Wallach completed the renovations including installing a new shelving unit that now houses the many crutches and walkers that the Loan Cupboard lends out to those in need. Wallach explained that Sorensen designed the new shelving unit, while they both executed the construction.
All in all, Jobe says, the project took around 40 hours to complete including the new shelves and a fresh coat of paint.
“It’s made a huge difference, it was dirty and dated before and now it’s nice and clean,” Jobe said, adding that the organization of the space was something they have been thinking about for a long time now. “Everyone pitched in and we managed to stay open while under construction.”
Loan Cupboard Coordinator Louanne Sandersen explained that the Loan Cupboard is only operational thanks to the hard work of many dedicated volunteers.
“We have to thank our volunteers, they make this possible. It’s such a rewarding thing to be able to help people,” she said. She says, however, that the Loan Cupboard has been running short on volunteers and they are looking for more permanent and casual people to fill the roles.
The Loan Cupboard, which has been operating for the past 60 years, provides equipment to patients in need from beds and bedpans to walkers and crutches. It is located in the basement of the Health Care Centre and is open from Monday to Friday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m..
It was started in the early 60’s by Joyce Brown, an RN at the Kimberley and District hospital.
“She was concerned that the patients needed equipment to be able to go home earlier,” said Sandersen. “In those days, rehabilitation was weeks in the hospital and going home in a wheelchair. She gathered old equipment and started to loan them out through her basement.
“Her daughter Gail remembers packing the equipment up the stairs when someone came to pick it up. [Joyce] had crutches, bedpans, wheelchairs and walkers made by a neighbour Adam Corflman in the early 1960’s.”
The Loan Cupboard was in the care of the Registered Nurses at the hospital until the year 2000, when the Loan Cupboard officially became a registered charity under the umbrella of the Health Care Auxilliary.
“Different people bring different strengths when they volunteer,” said Jobe. “It is really uplifting to be able to help people. It feels so good. You get the occasional grumpy person, but most people are so happy and grateful for this service in our community.”
Anyone who wishes to volunteer and help out at the Loan Cupboard can contact Louanne Sandersen at 250-427-2887. Anyone from retirees to high school students are welcome.