FRIENDS OF THE MUHC
Mirroring the merger of the seven hospitals under the MUHC brand, The Friends of the MUHC is an independent community-based organization whose goal is to help make the MUHC hospital community a more comfortable and friendly place for patients, staff members and visitors. Incorporated in 2014, The Friends is a team of enthusiastic hands-on volunteers, combining members of the former hospital auxiliaries with new community members. With 175 members, they are a warm, inspiring, caring, and energetic group of ambassadors dedicated to engaging the community in support of the MUHC. Together they develop initiatives focusing on friendraising and fundraising, distributing all proceeds to meet the greatest needs, from new medical equipment to programs and activities, for all the hospitals under the MUHC umbrella.
The past year has been quite active for The Friends with many new developments that have helped them advance with their mission. In June 2015, The Friends participated extensively in the June 3 day celebrations of the Official Opening of the Glen, helping to serve over 5,000 meals to staff members, enthusiastically participating in the Walk For Montreal, and volunteering at the MUHC Festival Day. Through the months of October and November, The Friends continued their enthusiastic support for MUHC initiatives with their All Hands on Deck Program, providing volunteer assistance to events such as the Art and Heritage Centre Vernissage, the ISAI Conference, and the Dr. Phil Gold Gala for the Montreal General Hospital.
The month of October also saw the official closing of The Montreal Children’s Auxiliary after 77 years of dedicated service to the hospital community. The Auxiliary showed their confidence in The Friends by generously donated $10,000 of their remaining funds to organization. Happily, many auxiliary members have joined the Friends and bring with them their continued service and many years of experience, from which the Friends will greatly benefit.
The Friends also helped to celebrate the 100 year honouring of John McRae’s “In Flanders Fields” in November, with Friends members leading a bagpipe procession and reciting the poem on Remembrance Day. One of the highlights for the Friends occurred in November when it secured its charitable status, allowing the organization to move forward with more fundraising programs.
In December, The Friends decorated a festive Holiday tree at the Glen featuring symbolic wooden hand-painted hands as ornaments. Patients, staff and visitors were invited to write personal holiday messages on each of the hands before hanging them on the tree.
Working with Public Affairs, the Friends took on ownership of Public Tours at the Glen, with Friends Tour Guides undergoing orientation and training to lead an assortment of groups through the new Hospital. Completing five successful tours to date, the Tours Program has been very well received.
At the request of the Royal Victoria Hospital Auxiliary, The Friends have taken on the Heart Pillow Program, providing pillows to cardiac patients to help them in their recovery. It has been an enormously successful program for the Auxiliary and The Friends are honoured to carry on the tradition.
During the months of March through May 2016, The Friends ran the 4th Annual Friends of the MUHC Toonie Challenge, engaging community schools to fundraise for the MUHC. This year, the committee enlisted 12 schools to participate and managed to organize 12 interactive kiosks to actively engage the students in medical science. Thanks to the support of the schools and the participating students, The Friends were able to raise over $5,500, bringing a cumulative total over 4 years to over $42,000. This year, the students were able to vote on how they want their funds spent and ultimately chose a Neonatal Cribette for the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
In addition to the Toonie Challenge fund disbursement, The Friends also announced commitments this year of over $21,000 to support departments within the Hospital. The Friends gave $1,800 to the Adult Patient Resource Centre for bookcases and display cases; over $17,000 to the Montreal Chest Institute for much needed visitor chairs, tvs, a stove and range hood, and 20 portable mirrors; and, $2,000 to the Montreal Children’s Hospital to support the Lire/Imagine/Read Literacy program.
Finally, the Art and Heritage Centre has been hard at work with the help of The Friends to label and move artwork and medical artifacts out of the old hospitals and into the new Hospital or safely placed into storage. This team of volunteers continues to work together in the preservation of important medical history.
Looking ahead, the organization will soon launch a Friends of the MUHC website, which will be linked in with the MUHC website. Several other programs are being developed and The Friends look forward to actively working to make positive contributions to the hospital community.
Montreal General Hospital Auxiliary
The Montreal General Hospital (MGH) Auxiliary currently has over 300 members and all money raised by the Auxiliary is channelled back to the MGH to support patient care.
Currently, they manage six commercial enterprises at the MGH:
- The Hospitality Corner Restaurant
- The Hospitality Corner Gift Shop
- The Pine Avenue Cafe
- The Cedar Avenue Cafe
- The MGH Book Nook
- The MGH Catering Service
The Auxiliary also held sales and other events to raise funds during this Annual Report period.
During this past year (April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016) donations decreased, as all of these enterprises were affected by the move of departments to the Glen and the associated decrease in traffic. Total donations for this period to the MGH and related services were $233,147. These funds were distributed to Social Services, Psychiatry, Volunteer Services, new equipment, The MGH Research Awards and Community Grants and community services associated with The MGH.
Additional funds were made available to redecorate and refurbish the Family Room in the Emergency Department and to provide each hospitalized patient at the MGH on December 25 with a Holiday Gift bag containing items for personal care and comfort. Money was also contributed to the MGH Auxiliary endowment fund.