The residents of Butterfly Lake RV Resort have been pooling donations over the last few years in hopes of supporting a local cause, and on Sept. 8, they presented a cheque for $3,000 to the team at Andy’s House.
Lynn Braden, her husband and their two children own and operate the Port Carling-based resort. The family hosts activities for their residents each long weekend, including everything from potlucks and live music to horseshoe tournaments and 50/50 draws. They raised money through the draws, tournament entry fees and personal donations from residents. Wanting to give back to a charity in the community, the residents collectively decided on Andy’s House, a residential hospice run by Hospice Muskoka.
“It was really nice to see what they do and to feel like we were helping out,” Braden said. “It was just nice to see that there’s such a lovely facility right in the heart of Port Carling.”
Due to COVID restrictions, she met with Hospice Muskoka staff outside for the cheque presentation, but she and her group were able to sneak a peak at the facility’s mural, which was donated by a local artist last year. Braden attended with her parents, both in their 90s, as well as her son and Butterfly Lake resident Heather Neuman.
“Heather was instrumental in collecting money through the 50/50 draws throughout the summer, and we’d like to thank her for her extra efforts,” Braden said. “We would like to thank all those people who are at Butterfly Lake for their contributions towards the donation. It was definitely a group effort amongst all the residents at Butterfly Lake RV Resort.”
Butterfly Lake is a relatively small RV park with 80 or fewer trailers in the resort at a time. Between its size and the fact that it’s family-owned, it’s a close-knit community full of friendly neighbours that all know each other, Braden said. She’s happy they were able to support such a valuable community service, and they plan to continue their efforts.
“We can now go back to the park and let everybody know where the money went and put it out there that they accept volunteers, and perhaps people will have time to share and volunteer there,” Braden said. “We plan to do this again next year, and we will continue to raise funds that will go to Andy’s House.”
Matt Steer, public relations and fundraising specialist for Hospice Muskoka, said community fundraising efforts like this are important because the majority of the organization’s funding still comes from fundraising, donations and grants.
“We’re still less than 50 per cent funded by the Ontario government,” Steer said. “We obviously have fundraising initiatives that we have in-house, but any third party that decides that they want to raise money on our behalf is huge because it means that we don’t have to use resources on the planning.”
Andy’s House accepted its first resident in 2020 and its eight palliative care rooms have seen many residents since. Along with their residential hospice services, they also offer a wide array of programs for caregivers and loved ones.
Their services are free and available to all seasonal and permanent residents in west and south Muskoka, as well as their family members. Steer encourages anyone who needs help with end-of-life or bereavement to reach out because the more people that access their services, the more likely they are to receive government funding and in turn be able to help more people.
“If they need the help, then the help is there,” Steer said. “That’s why we want to be able to keep going and raising the funds because we want people to know that our [hospice] services are available, as well as the grief and bereavement services, caregiver relief and some of the other community services that we provide, like advanced care planning, as well.”
The money donated by the residents of Butterfly Lake RV Resort will go towards Hospice Muskoka’s general fund, which supports the upkeep and day-to-day operations at Andy’s House along with the organization’s other programs. The team at Hospice Muskoka is grateful for every dollar, and they’re excited to continue working with the Butterfly Lake community.
“We’re just incredibly grateful that the money they’ve raised is able to stay in the local community,” Steer said. “I mentioned already to them that we would be looking to potentially go in and help them do some kind of presentation next year as well as even offer some of our volunteer services to the residents…, so we’re looking forward to hopefully continuing that partnership.”
To learn more about Andy’s House, visit Hospice Muskoka’s website. Interested in fundraising for Hospice Muskoka? Contact Matt Steer at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.