Festival of Trees brings funds to hospital foundation

Planners for Ponoka’s first Festival of Trees have planted all the seeds needed to make for an exciting first event.

Planners for Ponoka’s first Festival of Trees have planted all the seeds needed to make for an exciting first event.

The event will bring valuable funds to the Ponoka and District Health Foundation, explained Joanne McMillan, chairperson of the foundation. She gave a brief introduction of the organization Tuesday, Oct. 21 at the Kinsmen Community Centre during a Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

She says the foundation was officially registered in 2011 as a result of efforts by two Ponoka women — Juanita Knight and Dorothy Unstad — who questioned why funds, donated to the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre, were put in a trust in Red Deer.

They spoke with the Ministry of Health at that time and suggested those funds, which were initially designated for Ponoka, should stay in Ponoka.

“It took about three years of dealing with Canada Revenue and Alberta Health Services to be a recognized charity,” McMillan explained.

The foundation’s purpose is to provide assistance for services or equipment at the hospital and the health centre and McMillan said she is grateful to the Festival of Trees organizers for not only bringing funds to the foundation, but also for raising awareness of what they do.

“We are extremely grateful to the committee to ask us to be recipients,” said McMillan.

“This is a very community conscious group,” she added.

Foundation helps secure new equipment

McMillan says the foundation has worked with many different community groups and shared the cost of purchasing new, expensive equipment.

The Ladies Auxiliary for the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre is one group that is probably the most active, raising funds for the foundation. The large group of volunteers sells gift items at the hospital and McMillan couldn’t be more proud of their efforts.

“It’s astounding the money they have generated,” she said.

With their help the foundation was able to purchase a new colonoscopy and gastroscopy unit.

The Ponoka Kinettes also used funds for the foundation and helped purchase a Panda Warmer for newborns, which offers doctors an opportunity to check the vitals, weight and other information on the baby just after being born.

McMillan says the group is looking at a wish list of many items and she feels the Festival of Trees is going to get them closer to their goals.

Co-chairperson of the Festival of Trees committee, Sherry Gummow, said they intend to earmark the money raised for pediatric care. The festival is set for Nov. 13 to 15 and tickets can be purchased at Ponoka News, Jones Agencies and Busted Ladies Lingerie.

 

 

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