It is hard to believe that summer 2021 is rapidly coming to a close. Where did those long, lazy days of summer go? Despite our still being closed for in-person recreational programming, the staff of the Bernard Betel Centre have continued to be busy throughout the summer providing incredible online programming via Zoom and Facebook Live, and teleconferencing programming through Seniors’ Centre Without Walls. We have provided over 100 online programs both in English and Russian each month throughout the pandemic. Many thanks to our talented instructors and committed staff and volunteers who have provided a wide array of stimulating programs for our members and community participants to enjoy.
Throughout the pandemic we have purposefully engaged our membership by providing our signature programs online and continuing to make safety and check-in phone calls to thousands of isolated seniors who have requested ongoing contact by our supportive and caring volunteers and staff.
Our kitchen, food services, program staff, and volunteers have continued to be exceptionally busy providing and delivering approximately 3,000 meals on wheels each week to those seniors in our community requiring food assistance. This has been one of our greatest achievements and challenges throughout the pandemic. A warm thank you to all our staff and volunteers that have participated in this much needed program addressing the issue of food insecurity in our community.
As many of you know, we have continued to provide our high quality chiropody services to members since August 2020. Each week our two exceptional full-time chiropodists with the assistance of our talented administrator and a wonderful cadre of volunteers reach out to our members scheduling and providing chiropody services to hundreds of chiropody patients.
While the building has been closed since March 2020 to our members for recreational and educational purposes, we continue to provide the same excellent programming to the community. In fact, we have been busier in many of our departments than we were before the pandemic.
Thank you to all who have continued to support the Centre for the past 18 months either through your attendance in our programs, receiving services, volunteering, donating to the Centre, and or paying for your membership. You are all greatly appreciated and we look forward to your return to the Centre when it is safe for us to reopen. Thank you also to those that responded to our Membership Survey regarding Reopening. We are beginning to analyze the results of the survey which will assist us and our Board of Directors’ decision-making on reopening. Many individuals of our community are anxious to return to the Centre as soon as possible. We are delighted that you are so eager and looking forward to our reopening. Others are being cautious and waiting until we are no longer in the 4th wave of this pandemic. While all our staff are very eager to reopen our doors to the community, we will only do this when it is safe to do so, when we have all our policies and procedures in place, and when our renovation in the building is complete.
As previously reported, through the generous funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation we have been able to renovate our kitchen and main hall bathrooms. These long overdue renovations could only begin when contractors and engineers were comfortable coming back to work and building supplies were available and could be delivered. While we don’t have a specific reopening date due to a number of factors, our goal pending any unforeseen circumstances is to complete our renovation by mid-fall. We are greatly looking forward to the outcome of the renovation and will have a community celebration when we reopen. Until such time however, we will continue to offer a limited number of programs on our Betel patio and as scheduled, provide outdoor balcony concerts at some of our Healthy at Home program sites. In addition we will continue to offer all our online and teleconferencing programs.
Please join us for your upcoming Annual General Meeting on September 14, 2021 at 6:30 pm via Zoom. Additional information on the AGM can be found in on our website and in our September E-Newsletter. I also want to take this opportunity to thank our committed and hard-working Board of Directors for their support and guidance during this past year. Special thanks goes to Marcus Staviss, our Board President and our dedicated Executive. We look forward to seeing you in a few weeks at the AGM! In the meantime on behalf of the Bernard Betel Centre staff, we want to wish you and your family and friends, a healthy, happy and sweet New Year!!! May it be a better year for our community, country and across the world.
Shana Tova U’Metukah!