Every business has had to adapt because of the pandemic; however, not many have been forced to adapt as heavily as the Healthcare industry.
Kelly McElree has spent twenty-five years in the business of fundraising. For the last seventeen of those, he has been doing it here in Moose Jaw as the Executive Director of the Moose Jaw Health Foundation. His volunteer team works with donors to raise funds for life-saving medical equipment and services that doctors and nurses use to save lives directly. Without donors, the hospital would not have the necessary equipment to help local patients access medical equipment close to home.
"The foundation raises funds every year for medical equipment that local doctors, nurses and medical professionals identify as the most pressing needs in our community," Kelly said.
It's easy to imagine how social distancing, bubbles and lockdowns could negatively affect a foundation that raises much of its funds by hosting events that involve large groups of people. "When the pandemic struck, no one knew the impact it was going to have. We were forced to cancel some events that were a big part of Moose Jaw," Kelly said, citing Moose Jawg and The Princess Ball.
With the pandemic affecting everyone, the MJHF adapted, and Kelly gives much of the credit to the people of Moose Jaw and the effort of Foundation volunteers.
In September, they hosted the Family First Radiothon, where they raised $241,802.
Then they followed that by making Festival of Trees a virtual event in November, where they raised another $117,725.
"Normally, the Festival is a big gala event," Kelly said, "but we had to do it differently. We streamed a live auction and worked with local businesses online. It turned out to be a great community event."
"We are lucky to have such outstanding support in the community," he told Moose Jaw Today.
Kelly stressed that it's the volunteers and people in the community who make all of this possible. Volunteers and our donors are the heart and soul of the Moose Jaw Health Foundation. He said that his proudest moments at the MJHF have been "working with so many people committed to advancing healthcare in Moose Jaw" then followed up by adding, "we campaigned heavily for a new hospital, MRI and hyperbaric chamber and without the support of so many we couldn't have done it."
Now they're prepping for another round of each event.
"It's been humbling to see people coming together to help each other through this. Thank you Moose Jaw," he said.