HELPING HANDS of the Pacific Northwest is growing in the Terrace and Thornhill communities as more businesses and individuals lend their support.
The charity was started by Ron and Mavis Ramsey as a way to help struggling seniors pay for their prescriptions, especially in the new year, when insurance deductibles must be paid before support kicks in.
“More and more people are getting interested,” said Ron Ramsey, adding that the need has increased along with the support, making the growth of this charity important to this community – and maybe one day, others in the northwest.
“We’ve probably increased 30 per cent,” Ramsey said of donations this year.
Donations are received in the form of pop and alcohol empties, brass and metals and cash donations.
Volunteers also give by offering their time to sort bottles and cans.
Ramsey has an empty house in Thornhill dedicated to the washing and sorting of cans and bottles, where he sometimes spends upwards of nine hours a day at times.
He also drives to people’s homes and businesses to pick up donations.
He and Mavis started this charity three years ago, when staff at Mills Memorial Hospital told them hospitalization of seniors jumps in January because many of them can’t afford to pay their health care deductibles as a new year demands a new lump payment.
All four of Terrace’s pharmacies are now on board with the project, accessing money from the charity to help those they see to be having a hard time.
The money can also be used for food, said Ramsey, explaining some illnesses require a specific diet, or sometimes a pharmacist simply recognizes that a senior is malnourished and gives them money to buy groceries.
Children with illness are also a focus for the charity, along with cancer patients.
One of those children is three-year-old Jack Armstrong, who is battling leukemia.
Ramsey noted the expenses that can come through illnesses like this can be unbelievable and said Helping Hands of the Pacific Northwest will offer what it can for support of the Armstrongs for as long as they need it.
“We are going to stay with young Jack Armstrong,” Ramsey said.
“Him and any other little kid that comes along who has a problem.”
This winter the coffers have been held steady, an improvement from last year when the charity ran out of money one time.
However, Ramsey has a backup plan and simply phoned an individual in the community who had asked him to call should the well run dry. Ramsey did and was given $600 to hold the charity over.
Another addition this year has been Ramsey’s daughter, Jodie and her fiancé, Brian Wilson.
The two plan to keep the organization going once Ron, who is in his 70s and struggles with a sore knee, is unable to.
“Because that’s what we do,” said Jodie, when asked why she and her partner got onboard with Helping Hands, and it truly is a family effort as Ron is also assisted by his brother Ted Ramsey.