Letter: COVID-19 has really hurt non-profits like Burnaby hospice


Newscasts emphasize daily the pain retailers and restaurants are feeling due to the COVID 19 pandemic and resulting closures. Retailers do not stand alone. The Burnaby Hospice Society and other non-profits are also being negatively affected.

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Hospice non-profits generate operating capital from numerous sources, including:

  • Thrift store
  • Health Authority Grant(s)
  • Community & Corporate donations
  • Lease Grants (if applicable)
  • Membership Dues
  • Individual Donations
  • Hike for Hospice events
  • Annual Gala celebration
  • Provincial Grant - Gaming

Of the donors, the Provincial Grant - Gaming contributes the largest portion and it is uncertain how this will be affected due to the prolonged closure of casinos across the province. Hike for Hospice is an annual event held across the country but was cancelled this year due to the pandemic. The same goes for what would have been our third Gala Event held at the Grand Villa. It is our sincere hope both these events will be offered in 2021. Should conditions not improve virtual events are being planned as a backup but are not expected to perform as well as a live event.

Thankfully, Burnaby Hospice Society has applied for and received the wage subsidy funding for their staff and with the cooperation of their landlord has also received rent relief funding.

Complying with health guidelines our thrift store located at 6843 Kingsway was closed in March and reopened June 9 to strict distancing and PPE protocol. Sadly, most of the office and store staff/volunteers were laid off during this time. The only exceptions were the office administrator and one bereavement staff to provide critical counselling services throughout the closure. Our other function, palliative care will commence at Saint Michael's Hospice and Burnaby Hospital ward 2D under strict health guidelines in the near future.

During the closure, our grants and community donations took on new importance as expenses still had to be met and our services still need to be provided. Without these funds we would not be able to operate. We have seen many of our community and corporate partners affected by COVID-19. The Grand Villa Casino contributes significantly to our society. They continue to be shut down and so far there are no details on when they and other casinos will be allowed to re-open.

We look forward to the day when health requirements can be addressed and businesses can return to a new form of "normal." As we all know it will not be as before. Without this vital community support organizations like ours will struggle to survive and our services will put in jeopardy.

Our society has been a proud member of the Burnaby community for more than thirty years. Further information on the Burnaby Hospice Society may be obtained by calling 604.520.5087 or www.burnabyhospice.org.

Richard Hancock, Board of Directors, and Curtis Lee, General Manager of Operations





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