Year-round, Briar Communities’ seniors and staff volunteer to raise money to support the community
by: Michelle Hopkins
Soon after being hired as the recreational assistant for Bria Communities in 2016, John Meier was asked to organize a Hot Dog Fundraiser benefitting the Alzheimer Society of BC. The former proprietor of Tsawwassen’s renowned Myrtle’s Famous Hotdogs was on board immediately.
“When they asked me, I was in … this company has such a social conscience, one that aligns with my beliefs of giving back to the community,” says the affable Meier.
Meier also had a personal reason for supporting this campaign. “My grandmother Myrtle, which my cart is named after, died of Alzheimer’s and she would have loved this idea.”
Bria Communities’ first Hot Dog day raised $2,400. This year the hugely popular event, which attracts people from all over the Lower Mainland craving the gourmet Coney Island-style hot dogs, raised a whopping $6,100.
“We cooked 550 hot dogs and people were throwing in $100 and even $200 donations,” says Meier.
For 86-year-old widow Desley Cook, that civic mindset was another bonus to living at The Wexford.
“I love to volunteer and get involved,” says Cook. “I’m in charge of the charitable knitting group and I work the 50/50 charity draws.”
With so much happening each day, Cook says there’s no reason to ever be bored.
“It’s like a hotel but even better, we have outings like fishing, live entertainment, a resident garden on the rooftop, annual picnics, karaoke, speakers and much more,” adds Cook. “Everyone, from the residents to the staff, are like one big family.”
Tsawwassen’s The Wexford is one of two senior residences Bria Communities operates in Delta, (the other is The Waterford). Since its inception, the company has been finding ways to engage and inspire its seniors in meaningful ways.
“There’s a corporate climate at Bria that each residence gets invested in all aspects of the community, so we often partner with organizations aimed at bettering our community,” says Janice Miller, marketing partner, Seniors Living.
Throughout the year, The Wexford and The Waterford host fundraisers like BBQs and 50/50 draws for the Alzheimer’s Society and BC Cancer Association, and together they sponsor the South Delta Seniors Celebration, an annual outdoor community event featuring live entertainment. The Wexford also host a Turkey Drive offering fresh turkeys for a monetary or toy donation, with proceeds going to Deltassist.
In addition, both the Wexford and the Waterford honoured International Women’s Day – the Wexford raising $600 for women’s education, while the Waterford hosted guest speakers like Delta MP Carla Qualtrough.
One of its biggest initiatives is the Virtual Dementia Tour (VDT) days.
“Since March, we’ve hosted 52 community and industry leaders, seniors’ advocates and senior care professionals for the VDT,” explains Miller. “We are the only Canadian seniors’ community to train all of our staff and one of a few to facilitate the VDT, a multi sensory dementia experience.”
Bria presents these training tours because of its strong belief in building empathy for one of our most vulnerable sectors of the community – seniors.
“When a community supports and cares for its seniors, everyone benefits,” notes Miller.
For more information, visit www.BriaCommunities.ca.