By Nicole Crescenzi
Staff and residents of Broadmead Care’s Veterans Memorial Lodge are about to make their television debut.
On Sept. 22, the organization’s Serving Smiles campaign will go live in its first telethon event, with hopes of raising funds to upgrade its residential kitchen serveries and dining rooms.
The retirement facility is home to 225 residents — half of whom are veterans — and hasn’t seen any updates to six of its dining areas in more than 25 years.
The residences are divided into separate living areas, or lodges. While the food is made in a central commercial kitchen, each lodge has its own serving and dining area for residents to enjoy.
“We want to enhance our dining room areas, where the majority of our residents spend the majority of their time,” said Janet Power, director of care at Veterans Memorial Lodge. “It’s a space for meals, social functions, and visits with family and friends.”
Power noted that since the COVID-19 pandemic there’s been a minimal amount of family and friends in the dining area, with residents needing to meet guests in their rooms.
The extra COVID-19 cleaning protocols haven’t exactly helped in maintaining the quarter-century-old varnish on the cupboards and counters.
“Once dining rooms are refreshed, we’re hoping that we can start inviting family and friends again soon.”
To upgrade the six different kitchens and dining areas, Broadmead Care is hoping to raise $150,000.
The Serving Smiles campaign began in July, with more than $20,000 raised at the time of writing.
On Thursday, Sept. 22, staff, family members and veterans will join CHEK News’ Ed Bain and Jeff King for their first “phone-a-thon,” where audience members can call or text in pledges. Power said they’re aiming high, as they’ve had a donor pledge to match all donations up to $15,000.
Guest speakers will include Veterans Memorial Lodge resident Major (Ret’d) Murray Edwards, who is 102 years old. Edwards is a Second World War and Korean War veteran who was part of the Battle of Kapyong.
“Half our residents are veterans who have fought for our country and done things throughout their lives, so it’s time for us to care of them,” Power said. “We also have 110 residents who are publicly subsidized… We want to make sure their stay is done with a dignified, compassionate and caring approach, and the dining rooms are important for that. All the funds raised are going to something worthwhile.”
Tune into the Serving Smiles Telethon on Thursday, Sept. 22 from 5 to 7 p.m. on CHEK News.
You can also donate cash at Country Grocer stores in Royal Oak and Esquimalt, where donation boxes are now available until Sept. 30.
Another easy option is to text the word “SMILES” to 20222. This will give you the option of donating $5, $10 or $20 to the campaign, and the cost will simply be tacked onto your cellphone bill.
Lastly, you can make a donation or get more information about the campaign online at broadmeadcare.com/serving-smiles/.