Cupid had his bow aimed at a lot of big hearts this year as it just happened that St. Valentine’s Day, February 14th fell on the second Saturday of the month, the same weekend that Hospice of the Central Peninsula traditionally schedules their Wine Tasting & Auction fund raising event. Coincidently it was also the first community event held at the new Fireweed Fellowship Hall at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Soldotna. “We were able to add five more tables than we had in the past, which allowed us to accommodate our record breaking attendance this year and we were sold out weeks before the event,” said Gale Robison, the new executive director, “We were thrilled with the presentation at the new facility and the participation from the community in their generous bidding in the auction making it our most successful fund raising event ever. We were thrilled this year that Valentine’s Day fell on the traditional Saturday for our event. It was a perfect day because Valentine’s Day is about the month of hearts and Hospice is all about healing hearts and helping people walk the difficult path when they have an end of life illness,” added Robison who hails from California. “I got my college education in Colorado, met my husband who was a career military officer so we traveled all over the U.S. and one of our assignments was in Alaska and we landed here in the late 70’s and never left,” she told the Dispatch.
Hospice of the Central Peninsula serves the community from Cooper Landing to Anchor Point with a variety of programs one of which is known as “Five Wishes.” “It’s been around for a while and comes out of Aging with Dignity a national organization. We’ll be presenting our Five Wishes program at the Kenai Senior Center March, 3rd and April 13th in Sterling. It’s a simple booklet that has been approved by the national legal association as a way of presenting your family with your wishes of who you want to take care of you, how you want to be taken care of and establishes a program for your memorial service. We have found that it facilitates intimate communication among family members and proves very beneficial when end of life comes,” explained Robison.
Other programs are underway for the coming summer at Hospice including Camp Mend-A-Heart, “It’s a wonderful program that is subsidized by Central Peninsula Hospital and is all set to go August 10th – 12th at Solid Rock Camp. We are also starting a greeting group here one Thursday evening a month for widows or widowers and those who experience the loss of a loved one. Additionally we continue to be out in the community talking about the bereavement programs we have for when people just need someone to talk to. Also one of most important programs is our lending closet. We see close to 200 families a month who come in to borrow a variety of things such as walkers, bedside commodes, shower chairs, hospital beds, lift chairs and wheel chairs at no cost to them for as long as they need it,” she said. Anyone wishing to volunteer or learn more about the programs of Hospice of the Central Peninsula may stop by their office in Soldotna on the Kenai Spur Hwy in the AK Maxi Storage building Monday-Thursday 10:00am – 4:00pm or visit their website at hospiceofsoldotna.com.