Reflections on the IMPACT of the unseen enemy on the NPO Frontline
On the 11th of February, I welcomed our supporters to the new year and prayed that it had been kind to you, but shared that despite how we like to “start things afresh”, life tends to continue with its own ebbs and flows, oblivious to the governing parameters we try and enforce upon it.
Well, little did we know what life would look like in the not so distant future when we sent that newsletter out. 3 months into COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa and life as we knew it feels like a glimmer of the past as we try and adjust to living a life where the world is faced with a shared enemy, that none of us can see, but whose consequences have wreaked havoc in most sectors. Wealth and Health. The two BIG THINGS that we so desperately depend on, have been rocked in ways the world has not seen in many years. Wealth and Health, as we fight for it, again also highlighting the disparity that exists in our world. The GREAT DIVIDE between rich and poor, a gap that keeps growing.
HEALTH and WEALTH: perhaps now, more than ever, shining a MASSIVE spotlight on the need for Palliative Care for ALL, as St Bernard’s Hospice along with all other hospices in South Africa, seek to manoeuvre our sustainability in a time where the demand of our services increase.
As an essential service, with patient care staff essentially acting as frontline solders, we continued to serve patients from Level 5 right through to the current Level 3. We needed to alter our interactions, create distance where possible, use telephones more than what we like to, but people were still battling with life-limiting illnesses, including death, and needed Palliative Care Services.
Our Quarter 2 stats in a nutshell stands as:
St Bernard’s Hospice has amazing staff. People who work for an NGO usually are a rare breed. A person who generally puts others above self. All our staff are amazing and everyone has had to adjust to working remotely, not working, loosing income, being mothers, housekeepers and fulltime workers all at once, and learning how to make remote communication effective. I do wish to take this opportunity to give a special mention to our Patient Care Department, who has been in the frontline serving our East London Community bravely. May God continue to protect them as they care for others.
The financial impact our organisation has been catastrophic as are the predictions for the remainder of the year. We rely heavily upon our own fundraising events to generate a positive income, up to 6% of annual turnover. However, we have had to cancel 4 major events equating to a financial loss of no less than R150 000. Our Charity Shop was also closed for parts of March, April and May which lead to a further loss of income of approximately R120 000.
It would be foolish to say I am not concerned about our financial outlook for the remainder of this financial year and our ability to “recover” from it. It has not been possible to find other ways of fundraising that reaches the same potential income, but we are running various smaller raffles and “virtual” events in an attempt to keep our doors open. We cannot allow the East London community to be without a Palliative Care service provider that they can access despite their financial situation. Thank you for your care regarding the work that we do and the difference that we make. Please tell your friends about St Bernard’s Hospice, and how they can get involved.
Take Care, wear your Mask, wash your Hands and keep faith.