Reopening Day, (l-r) Linda, Marg, Brenda and Jean

Kemptville District Hospital (KDH) volunteers returned to the Hospital this week after a two-year COVID-driven absence with the triumphant Grand Reopening of the KDH Auxiliary’s Gift Shop and Coffee Bar. 

“We are thrilled to be back!” enthused KDH Auxiliary President, Linda Carnegie. “We have very much missed all the different ways we interact face to face with staff and patients in fulfilling our mission of promoting good public relations and assisting the Hospital in providing quality community healthcare.” 

KDH staff, in turn, have missed the volunteers. “It’s wonderful to be able to stop by the Coffee Bar again and get a latte or cup of tea and spend a few minutes chatting with the volunteers,” said Liz, who works in Administration. “They have a unique way of brightening up your day.”  

Pre-COVID, KDH volunteers could be found helping out in every area of the Hospital. For now, it’s just the Gift Shop and Coffee Bar that has resumed operations; other volunteer services will be restarted as they are deemed to be safe. 

Prior to returning to duty at the Hospital, each volunteer was required to take online training in the correct use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Infection Prevention and Control Measures. “It’s vitally important that we keep our volunteers safe,” said Lana LeClair, Vice President of Corporate Services.  

A plexiglass barrier between the volunteers and their Gift Shop and Coffee Bar customers adds another layer of protection.  

The safety of the volunteers was behind the KDH’s decision to suspend all volunteer services when COVID-19 arrived in Ontario in mid-March of 2020. “As difficult a decision as it was, it had to be made,” explained LeClair. “Ever since then, we’ve been carefully considering the right time to welcome the volunteers back,” she added.  

To celebrate the Grand Reopening of the Gift Shop and Coffee Bar, staff were treated to a free hot beverage of their choice, as well as discounts on Gift Shop purchases. “Several staff came by on opening day to purchase items they’d had their eyes on for two years!” laughed Carnegie.  

The last word goes to KDH’s Chief Executive Officer, Frank Vassallo. “I am so happy to see the return of our dedicated volunteers,” he said. “You can easily identify them by their red smocks as well as the kindness, compassion and empathy they radiate.” 

The KDH Auxiliary’s Gift Shop and Coffee Bar is now open Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 5:00 pm. 



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here