Foundation helps BC hospitality workers facing medical challenges and struggling with demand – BC

They make your coffee, serve you lunch, and check you into your vacation rental.

Now, B.C.’s hospitality industry is asking for a little help.

The BC Hospitality Foundation is hoping to raise $100,000 for a program that provides grants to service workers facing medical challenges.

“We help with out-of-town treatment, medical equipment, and we sometimes help bridge the financial gap between when EI or disability runs out or when you reach the maximum of your medical benefits,” explained the foundation’s executive director, Alana Dickson.

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The foundation relies on its annual Spirit of Hospitality lottery to fund the program, but so far it has managed to raise just under a quarter of its goal.

This comes at a time when funds are needed more than ever.

“We all know that the cost of living is much higher than it has been in recent years, we also know that the hospitality industry has really struggled during the pandemic,” Dickson explained.

“Last year we saw the number of funding requests double. »

Last year, the program helped 30 people stay afloat during a medical crisis or cover unexpected medical expenses.

Since its inception in 2017, the program has helped hospitality workers with more than $1.6 million.

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“Everyone knows someone in the hospitality industry – career professionals, or someone getting their first job in a hotel, pub or restaurant – in some cases they don’t get all the benefits social workers or find themselves in a financial crisis due to a medical condition beyond their control,” said Jeff Guignard, executive director of the Alliance of Beverage Licensees of BC.

“The work we do makes a huge difference to these people’s lives: sometimes it’s helping someone take a month off so they can treat their health problem and what if we weren’t not there to intervene, he would lose his apartment, we have helped people get a wheelchair that they could not otherwise afford.

Guignard said the hospitality industry understands better than anyone that times are tough right now, but contributing could change someone’s life.

Dickson said ticket packages for the drawing are available at various prices ranging from $5 to $50.

The prizes do, however, include big-ticket items, like a getaway to Aspen, Colorado, or a two-day trip on the Rocky Mountaineer, both worth about $6,000.

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Kevin Neilson, who sits on the foundation’s industry advisory board, described the hospitality industry as the “backbone” of B.C.’s economy, noting that it is one of the largest employers in the province.

However, many workers in the sector do not have health coverage beyond the MSP – and like everyone else, they face the rising cost of living.

“When they’re in a situation where they have a choice to put food on the table, they can take away things like medical benefits and those kinds of things,” he said.

“That means the world, I mean, they have a hard enough time dealing with injuries or illnesses that they themselves are dealing with, on top of dealing with the financial repercussions.”

Lottery tickets remain available until December 10, with the grand prize drawing on December 11.

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