Senior couple sitting together

Recent Successes Trigger Need to Raise Our Fundraising Goals

Mary* is 48 years old. She and her husband live with their children aged 11, 13 and 18 just outside Carleton Place. Life is good, although a bit hectic. Her elderly parents live in Almonte, and her only sibling lives in PEI. She’s concerned, because there’s something going on with Mom. She can’t quite put her finger on it, but she knows there’s something wrong. She’s been meaning to talk to her Dad about it for quite a while, but the days just go by.

One day, as she’s rushing into the house after work, thinking about dinner and which kid needs to go where that evening, the phone rings. It’s Mom. “Dad’s gone in the ambulance.” Mary stops in her tracks. “What happened? Where are you?” “I’m at home, and I can’t remember where they said they were taking him and I can’t find the car keys.” She’s crying hard.

Mary calls out to her eldest: “Can you order pizza for dinner? I have to go to Grandma’s.”

The 18 minute drive feels so long…she’s terrified for her Dad, and also that her Mom might find those keys. Because deep down, she knows what’s wrong with Mom. Her memory is failing her.

That’s how it starts for so many families. Now you have an individual with a serious health issue, being looked after by someone who has developed dementia.

Mary needs someone to assess what her parent’s needs are. Perhaps an occupational therapist who can determine if the house is safe; or a nursing service to deal with post-surgery complications. Maybe they need help with day-to-day living. In any case, she needs advice on how to manage it all.

But where to start? Who can she turn to? In the blink of an eye nothing will ever be the same again.

* While this story is fictional, it is based on situations we’ve seen many times.

Home Hospice North Lanark has been supporting people for 10 years now. A lot of what we do is helping the “Marys” of our community figure out what is needed and where those services can be found. Our core service  — our Visiting Volunteer Program — helps a lot with calming the panic as well. You can visit to learn about all the ways in which we can help.

We’ve worked hard to develop our policies and procedures, to cultivate partnerships with other organizations that will help us support our clients. At the same time, we’ve been finding ways to best inform all of you about our services so that you, or someone you care about, are aware of what we offer so you’ll reach out when you need us. We also offer public education events, satellite offices and curated book sections at our public libraries so you can get information when you need it. All of our services are delivered at no charge to the people of North Lanark, which includes Almonte, Carleton Place, Appleton, Clayton, Beckwith, Blakeney, Pakenham, and surrounding areas.

And it’s been working! Look at how our client numbers have grown over just the last few months:

But we need your help! We fear we are becoming victims of our success.

We know the need is there. And we know our services are making a difference. Our client satisfaction surveys bear that out:

  • We thank HHNL for their generous gift of time and spirit. Their presence was a comfort to our friend in the last phase of her life’s journey and we welcomed the respite you provided us.
  • Your dedication and passion to help people is second to none!
  • We … used the hospice service this year for my dad and we were impressed with their care, information given and follow up.
  • I was fortunate to participate in an eight-week session on Grief Support offered by HHNL… At the end of the eight weeks, I wasn’t the same person. I was better prepared to deal with my grief.

It is incredibly frustrating when you see the need so clearly, but you can’t do more because there aren’t enough hours in the day.

The only way we can expand the hours in a day is if we have more funding.

How We Use the Money We Raise

We are a very lean organization. We run on a budget of about $120,000 a year.

We don’t pay rent for an office, thanks to the generosity of the Community Presbyterian Church in Almonte who allows us to use their hall for meetings, and a secure storage space free of charge.

Our community has been supportive in providing space in which to offer our public education events. Community Presbyterian Church in Almonte, St. James Church in Carleton Place, all three public Libraries and the Almonte Legion allow us to use their spaces at no cost.

Our “hard costs” are wages for our two Program Coordinators, telephone, web hosting and maintenance, insurance (premiums went up by $352.00 this year), auditing services, membership fees to our governing body (Hospice Palliative Care Ontario), all of which are mandatory. There is also a cost involved to train Visiting Volunteers and to pay for our Electronic Health Record charting system.

We have two incredible Program Coordinators. The Federal Government Nav-CARE program we were excited to introduce recently covers half of our full-time PC’s salary, which is wonderful. But it does mean that she can only work on HHNL work for 50% of her time. Our other PC is part time, so we effectively have one full-time person.

With our caseload growing the way it is, we need two full-time people, and ideally an office in which to keep our files and conduct our business.

We run three main fundraising initiatives each year — Hike for Hospice, our Tree Fundraiser, and our Silent Auction in the spring. We also undertake smaller events such as selling baked goods at a farmer’s market, or a 50/50 draw. In our 2020/21 fiscal year, these efforts brought in approximately $35,000. The OutCare Foundation, the Ottawa Community Foundation, the Almonte Community Coordinators (The Hub & Rebound), the Elizabeth Kelly Foundation and the Almonte Civitan Club, as well as some individual and group donations, helped us pay the bills. We are grateful to everyone who has donated, or supported an event, but we’re coming up short.

Our volunteers — Board members, Visiting Volunteers, Committee members and public relations and marketing — logged over 8,500 hours in the last year.

So many people in the organization go above and beyond; some of our volunteers even cover the cost of items that really should be paid for by the organization.

This is simply not sustainable. We must find a way to at least double our fundraising results.

We do not get any provincial government funding, so we come to you and ask you to look into your hearts. Wouldn’t you love to be part of this compassionate community that makes sure that people like “Mary” have somewhere to turn?

You can be part of the solution by making a donation at You can also mail a cheque to HHNL, Box 787, Almonte, Ontario K0A 1L0. (All donations over $20 will receive a tax receipt). If you choose to donate on a regular basis — monthly or yearly — this would greatly help us with our planning.

Are you a business owner? We respectfully ask you to consider adding Home Hospice North Lanark to your corporate giving program.

Please contact the Chair of the Board at [email protected] if you would like to make a significant donation or if you have ideas that can help us.

Thank you in advance! Sincerely, Home Hospice North Lanark, on behalf of our clients, past, present, and future.