Posted by Jim Taylor on Mar 17, 2018

New resource for ailing families 

It hasn’t been built yet, but it’s already getting support up and down the Okanagan Valley, and all through the Kootenays. JoeAnna’s House will provide accommodation for families from all over the Interior Health Region who need to come to Kelowna General Hospital while a parent, a child, a spouse, receives treatment.


Gail Harrison took a year off from Cops for Kids, to spearhead a fund-raising drive for JoeAnna’s House. On Thursday March 15, she talked about plans and progress.


Almost everyone has heard of Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver. JoeAnna’s House will be something similar, but serving families from Williams Lake to Osoyoos, from Merritt to Fernie. At any given moment, Gail explained, one in four beds at KGH is occupied by a patient who has had to travel for care. They commonly arrive in response to an unexpected emergency. They haven’t had time – and often haven’t the money – to arrange for accommodation in Kelowna while their family member recovers. Some sleep in their cars. Some arrive with only the clothes they’re wearing.


JoeAnna’s House is named after Josef and Anna Huber, who provided an initial donation to get the project started. With a goal of $8 million, Gail said, they have already raised $4.5 million. Prestige Inns has opted into the project with its hospitality expertise. They already have the property, at Royal and Abbott streets, between the hospital and the lake, and have support from Abbott Street residents.


Gail Harrison herself has been travelling the province, organizing support, with Rotary clubs a key element.


When built (hopefully, starting this September), JoeAnna’s House will be two floors, look like a heritage house, with 20 hotel-style rooms in 14,000 square feet. Kitchens and lounges will encourage the families using JoeAnna's House to support each other. A major part of healing is often discovering that you’re not the only person dealing with unexpected or tragic circumstances.  


Other news


  • Greg Buchholz announced a Happy – the District of Lake Country has received a $5 million grant from the federal Gas Tax Program to build a multi-use recreation centre on Bottom Wood Lake Road, in connection with the Food Bank, Seniors’ Centre, Arena, and Curling Rink. The new facility will also provide a permanent home for the Lake Country Boys’ and Girls’ Club.            
  • April is Shoe Bank Month. Our club has a collection bin for used-but-still-wearable shoes. Bring ‘em out!
  • April is also Ladies’ Movie Night month. The movie chosen for this year is “Nine to Five”, to be shown April 14. Please let your friends know, and get them to buy tickets. Rotary members will be canvassing potential donors for Silent Auction items in coming weeks. No doubt President Bernard will want to devote a club meeting to plans for Ladies’ Movie Night as soon as he returns.
  •  April 28 is Rotary at Work Day.
  •  And May 9 is the Blood Donor Clinic sponsored by Rotary.