June 2019 Community Grant Recipient: Nelson Day Hospice


June 2019 Community Grant:
Nelson Day Hospice

This past quarter, the Kootenay Co-op’s Community Giving Committee made up of members, staff and board directors decided to award the Nelson & District Hospice Society a $500 Community Grant. This money will be used for fresh, healthy, local, good-quality organic food for participants nearing the end of their lives, as part of the weekly Nelson Day Hospice program. This week was the program’s Open House so I, Alyssa Nebel, Outreach Coordinator had the honour of meeting some of the clients and volunteers who make this program so special.


Mission Statement

“Providing practical, emotional and spiritual support to individuals and their loved ones through the stages of dying, death and bereavement.”

Nelson & District Hospice Society brings their mission statement to life every day and the Day Hospice program is only one aspect of it. I saw this firsthand when I was at their Mountain Lakes location on Wednesday.

Dying is the most natural and simple thing on this planet, but it can also be the most difficult and complicated. Nelson & District Hospice Society staff and volunteers are knowledgeable, experienced and sincere. I witnessed them treat clients with compassion and respect, offer support without condescension, and I saw clients respond with grace and gratitude.

Day Hospice Open House

The Day began with introductions and an exercise activity led by Kootenay Columbia College of Integrative Health Sciences. Tai Chi and Qi Gong are a great way to encourage physical activity for people who have varying levels of mobility as there are seated and bed-bound adaptations. The benefits are not only physical but also psychosocial and can lead to better renal and cardiac function.  The meditative movements of Tai Chi and Qi Gong are associated with benefits like improved blood pressure, increased relaxation, recovery from immune-mediated diseases and reduction of anxiety and depression.  In addition, bringing in external community members in the form of the Integrative Health students also helps to build intergenerational social time.

Following the physical activity, lunch was served. With so many different diets to cater to – from vegan and vegetarian to gluten-free and keto as well as other various allergies – Nelson Day Hospice’s caterers have found it easiest to do their shopping at the Kootenay Co-op. Lunch was healthy, delicious and mostly organic, made up of salads, hummus, veggies, local bread from Uphill Bakery, cheese, salami and crackers. Clients were especially appreciative of the Kootenay Co-op Kitchen’s Power Slaw! Yum! Lunch was served around a round table with individualized plates and a beautiful wildflower bouquet as a centrepiece. The round table gives the meal an especially family-feel, offering comfortable social time for clients to share their struggles and stories. After lunch, volunteers pack up leftovers into reusable containers for clients to take with them for the days to come. The containers are then returned to be refilled each week!

Day Hospice By the Numbers (so far)

  • 32 Day Hospice sessions
  • 121 individual visits
  • 94 individual supportive therapeutic treatments
    • including acupuncture, cranio-sacral therapy, palliative massage and one-on-one support
  • 12 volunteers
  • 4 open houses
  • 27 activity sessions
    • including music therapy, art therapy, group counselling, poetry writing, singing, drumming and advance care planning sessions

Client Feedback

One  client was back for his second Day Hospice series and was able to speak to the benefits he recognized from the program. The program increases feelings of health, well-being and connectedness. Not only are clients connected to new resources like home and community care and pastoral car, clients have reported a sense of having expectations met. Here are a few things clients had to say:

  • “My experience in these first eight weeks has been transformative. Simply spending time with people who share the horizon created by a terminal diagnosis really can’t be anything but earth-shaking. I think maybe it’s a mindset that is best appreciated from the inside.”
  • “The welcome and absolute spaciousness offered by the staff and volunteers is remarkable, almost like air. There is room to breathe and to find out a little about who one is at this point in one’s life, unencumbered by someone else’s ideas about what might be needed or wanted.”
  • “Appreciating the brutal honesty of the situation. It’s wonderful not to have to hide with fancy words. And I loved experiencing music with others.”
  • “I can learn from others’ honesty and feel like people listen to what I need.”

My Experience

Having dealt with palliative/hospice care at the end of my father’s life in 2015, I am especially appreciative of quality programs such as this one. I am so glad that the Community Giving Committee made up of members, staff and board directors made the decision to share last quarter’s cafe tips with the Nelson Day Hospice program as they are making a real difference in the lives of some of our community members. Being at the Open House was a chance for me to see the benefits of shared activity and good food in action.

Thank you to Nelson & District Hospice Society, for all that you do!

To browse other recent recipients, head here:
Community Grants

Want to apply?

The Kootenay Co-op Community Grants Program offers up to $500 for community projects or initiatives that help us towards our Vision: We envision thriving communities with resilient food systems, where all people have access to affordable food that is healthy for our bodies, our communities, and the Earth.  These grants are funded by our generous members through the tip jars at the café checkout!

Community Grants are available to local organizations for community projects, programs or initiatives.  Successful applications will include specifics about the project and its impact on our local community, alignment with our Vision, the ability of organizer(s) to complete the project, and how our Co-op’s contribution fits within the overall budget. Organizations and programs can receive a maximum of one Kootenay Co‑op Community Grant per 12-month period. Organizations must acknowledge the Kootenay Co‑op’s contribution in their project materials.

Application Process:
1. Complete Community Grant Application. If you need more space to explain your project, additional materials are welcome.
2. Submit the completed application to Customer Service or electronically at community@kootenay.coop.
3. A committee of Kootenay Co-op staff, Board and members will review applications and make grant awards on a quarterly basis.

Applications Due: December 1st, March 1st, June 1st, September 1st