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    Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

    2021 Santa Claus event Niagara On The Lake Community Palliative Care
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    In Support Of Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Palliative Care Service

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    Santa is Coming To Town | 2021 Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Palliative Care Service Holiday Fundriaser

    Bob Romeo: We’re here at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Centre. It’s a fundraiser for the Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Palliative Care. We have some stuff here for kids to do and guess what? Santa’s here!

    Bonnie Bagnulo: Yes well, we decided to partner with the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake to do a fun event because, you know, there’s a certain stigma over palliative care and we want to raise awareness and kind of try to help mitigate that stigma. Death, dying and bereavement are a part of life, and it’s apart from the onset of an illness through the trajectory not just at the end of life.

    We offer so many services in our organization that we thought one of them is the happy side of palliative care. And so we wanted to do something for the town to let them know that we are also about happy and living life well until last minutes.

    Bob Romeo: Now tell us about some of the regular services that you do have here in the community.

    Bonnie Bagnulo: We have a lot of services. We have visiting volunteers, which are really the backbone of the organization. They are just amazing, compassionate, spiritual on a whole different level of giving.

    We go out and provide respite for clients that are seriously ill. We provide equipment of all kinds. We have lift recliners, we have wheelchairs, walkers – you name it [and] if you need assistance and mobility assistance in this area it’s us. And we’re free of charge, all of our services, for as long as things are needed.

    We provide grief walks. We provide bereavement programs, bereavement one-on-one. We have virtual visiting happening right now and we have all kinds of resources for anyone that just really doesn’t know what to do or how to do it once that diagnosis gets handed to them.

    We’re approximately 60% ministry funded. So we are a recognized visiting volunteer community service in Healthcare. So we’re part of everyone’s healthcare system. So we’re in touch with the doctors, we have self-referrals, we get referrals from home and community care. So that’s 60%, but you’re right, that 40% of donations that come in from people in the area and people that use our services or believe in our services – that really helps us with all the extra programming that we’ve been able to bring in.

    We’ve been able to look at transportation services for our clients. We’ve been able to take a better look at pet loss and child loss – and that is all because of donations that have been provided to give us extra time and extra funds for brochures and marketing.

    Bob Romeo: Now Mayor Lord Betty, we have a festive celebration here in your town, tell me what this kind of thing means at this time of year for you?

    Lord Mayor Betty Disero: Well, it’s a wonderful way of getting the community together and celebrating the season. Particularly children who still want to see Santa Claus and bring their wishes to him. So I think it’s a great initiative by our local Niagara-on-the-Lake [Community] Palliative Care. For that reason, in terms of community spirit, but also it allows people to know Niagara-on-the-Lake [Community] Palliative Care and what they do. It brings in awareness out there so, yeah, all good.

    Bob Romeo: During COVID-19 it’s been very different and you’re frontline workers and we thank you for everything you do, but maybe just give us a little description of how tough it is on a daily basis now.

    Bonnie Bagnulo: It is incredibly tough because we have people that are in their homes that need to be seen by our wonderful volunteer network, and the people that are in their own home, in their own residence, get only seen by one volunteer, two hours, one day a week. So we’ve really coped down our services in regard to the people living in their homes.

    The transportation and equipment lending and things like that are still up to par, but it’s the visiting, the one-on-one visiting we’ve had to shift over to the virtual visits. In fact, we do service 3 of the long-term care facilities here in Niagara-on-the-Lake and we are doing most of that by virtual visiting. One of the homes we have our visitors actually going in doing friendly visiting, but even that has temporarily halted due to the fact that we’ve got Omicron on the rise.

    Bob Romeo: Anything on your wishlist this year?

    Bonnie Bagnulo: You know, if we could just provide every single person living with a life-limiting illness some help this year and the new year coming, that’s our mission and, truthfully, that is my wish this year. To be able to provide care and help to anyone with a life-limiting illness.

    Lord Mayor Betty Disero: A way out of this pandemic is what I would ask Santa for. Yeah it’s just, uh, I just want 2022 to be a great year for everyone. We have lots to do in Niagara-on-the-Lake and I’m hopeful that at some point we will get out of this and we will come out of it even stronger and our community is so united and strong together.

    Bob Romeo: Everyone had a great afternoon here and it was a fundraiser for the Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Palliative Care. Kids got to do some colouring and got to meet Santa. He was here, and remember, he’s always watching you. Reporting for The Source, I am Bob Nice-Boy Romeo.

    Santa Clause: I’m not so sure!

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