While Minden may have lost its emergency department, members of the local health care auxiliary say it has no plans to abandon the community.

Since 2000, the volunteer group has raised and donated well over $500,000 to purchase new equipment at the Minden hospital and Hyland Crest long-term care home. Mickey Bonham, a member since 2009, said the auxiliary met in early May, shortly after HHHS announced it would be shuttering the Minden emerge, to discuss their future.

“We were all in a state of shock. We knew this decision was going to impact our ability to raise funds and attract new members… but we decided to keep going at least for another year,” Bonham said.

“We couldn’t abandon the 64 people [who live] at Hyland Crest. This isn’t their fault,” added Pat Bradley, a member since 2012.

The auxiliary held a sale at its gift shop in the main foyer at Hyland Crest, June 10. Bonham said it was to make way for new inventory, which will arrive next month. The store reopened last fall after being closed for two-and-a-half years due to the pandemic.

It’s one of the auxiliary’s primary revenue generators, alongside other staples such as the tag day fundraiser. Bonham admits it’s going to be “a challenge” for the auxiliary raising money now, considering the bulk of funds came from people who had received treatment at, and wanted to support, the Minden emerge.

The group is hosting a summer raffle, with 48 bottles of wine and a wheelbarrow up for grabs. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the gift shop. The draw will be done in October. All proceeds will support projects at Hyland Crest.

“We’re really hoping to focus now on beautifying that space. It hasn’t been updated since it was built in 2000,” Bonham said. “We want to have some murals painted inside, bring in some pieces of art, just make it more visually appealing for residents.”

Bonham didn’t rule out assisting any service that takes over the hospital space, with the Kawartha North Family Health Team applying to open an urgent care clinic. Bradley said the auxiliary is also planning to support efforts at the adult day program, which runs out of Hyland Crest.

“The big message we want to put across is all the money we raise will stay in Minden. Anyone who’s afraid the money will be going to Haliburton now our emerge has closed, no – that’s not our mandate,” Bradley said. “Our money stays here. This just opens doors for other areas, other groups that perhaps haven’t received support before.”

The auxiliary has around 25 active members, half the number they had prepandemic. Bradley said it’s a great group to get involved with.

“We need fresh blood. If you’re recently retired and looking for something to do, it’s a great cause. Promoting and furthering health services is one of the most rewarding things you can do as a volunteer,” Bradley said. “It’s easy for the people at Hyland Crest to feel abandoned, they can feel lonely. I feel strongly these are pillars of our community who are locked behind a door nobody seems to want to go beyond. Anything we can do to support these people, bring some smiles to their faces, it’s well worth it.”

The group meets three times annually for general meetings, with members required to complete at least one three-hour shift at the gift shop each month.

The gift shop is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from noon until 3 p.m.

For more information on the auxiliary, or to become a member, visit hhhs.ca or contact 705-457-1392 ext. 2927.