Powering through uncertain times

BC Hydro Power Pioneers rally to launch virtual campaign to support BC Children’s Hospital Foundation during COVID-19


As the Power Pioneers—a volunteer group comprised of BC Hydro retirees and their spouses—entered their 30th year of supporting BC Children’s Hospital, the province was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the days and weeks that followed, the effects were quickly felt among those who counted on BC Children’s Hospital. With playrooms closed and a shortage of bedside activities, kids in the hospital were feeling more isolated than ever. The pandemic also brought overwhelming stressors to families who were going through some of the most difficult times of their lives.

Determined to help, the Power Pioneers quickly rallied together to launch a fully virtual campaign in support of BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Rapid Response Fund, which was created to help address the critical needs facing the hospital as a result of COVID-19. For many, it was a daunting move—especially since most of their fundraising over the past three decades had been done face-to-face.

“Many of the volunteers—some of whom were over 80 years old—weren’t very comfortable online, let alone trying to fundraise online. But they just jumped in and once they got rolling and figured it out, there was no stopping them.”

—Lorilee Koltai, executive director of the Power Pioneers

“Volunteers were taking it on and coming up with really creative ways to fundraise online,” added Maureen Lachnit, who co-led the virtual fundraising campaign this year. “Some of them created online bake sales, where people could order anything from cakes to cookies and have it delivered to their homes.”

While the group wasn’t sure what to expect by their shift to online fundraising during a pandemic, the campaign became a huge success. And that wasn’t all. In addition to creating online personal fundraising pages, the Power Pioneers also came up with the idea to start a face mask campaign in support of the hospital. The masks were also a big hit: in the first three months, over 1,000 were sold, resulting in more than $10,000 raised.

BC Hydro Power Pioneers wear face masks during COVID-19

All told, the Power Pioneers raised over $43,000 for the Rapid Response Fund through their efforts—a remarkable accomplishment for this inspiring group of volunteers. Not only are the Power Pioneers playing a key role in helping ensure BC’s kids and families receive the best possible care, they also have a great time doing it.

“We have a saying at Power Pioneers that if we’re not having fun, we need to think hard about what we’re doing,” Lorilee said. “We seem to have that magic of having a lot of fun and doing a lot of great work at the same time.”

“Everyone really enjoys working together,” said Maureen. “You wake up and you’re excited to participate because everyone is on board.”

Interested in learning more about the face mask campaign? Visit https://powerpioneersgear.com.


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