Wilkie, Saskatchewan — Sharing a meal together is about so much more than just eating food—it’s about connecting with others. To many, the dinner table can serve as a unifier where stories are told, games are played, and relationships are strengthened. At Bethany Assisted Living, providing residents with regular shared mealtimes is an integral part of their programming and now a new set of dining furniture designed specifically for seniors is going to help them do it in ultimate comfort.
The assisted living centre received a $2,500 grant from Bayer Fund’s Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities program (CFGC), thanks to a nomination from local grower Jeff Hyland. The funds went towards replacing the worn-out dining room furniture with new furnishing sets— custom made for health care facilities.
Growing up on his family’s seed farm in Scott, Saskatchewan, about 15 kilometres from Wilkie, SK, Jeff eventually moved to Saskatoon for agricultural studies and ended up pursuing a career in the oil industry before finding his way back to the farm. His late father always believed in the principles of lending a helping hand and giving back to your community, which Jeff carries forward as a part of his father’s legacy.
So, when the opportunity to help a local charitable organization presented itself, he immediately thought of Bethany Assisted Living. “It’s important to me because it was important to my dad. He knew that Bethany was an integral part of our community and up until his potato operations ceased, he regularly donated potatoes to them.”
Although everyone living at the Bethany can feed themselves, some have limited mobility and/or weakened muscles, that can make it significantly more challenging. The residents appreciate the new chairs which are much lighter and make it easier to seat themselves independently. Additionally, the new tables are much higher than previous ones, so residents don’t have to strain to continue enjoying their meals.
“Our previous furniture was actually falling apart. It was close to becoming a real danger for our residents. Now, the dining room looks beautiful with the new tables and chairs.” says Lynn Christianson, Bethany Administrator.
As head of the family now, Jeff maintains a close connection with Bethany and donates the use of his skid steer for snow removal throughout the winter.
Both Hyland and Christianson were surprised and excited to find out that the Bethany was selected to receive the grant. And for Christianson, it was a little extra emotional experience as she hadn’t even known they were nominated.
“We’re a small community and a small organization. To know that someone out there cared enough to nominate us was amazing. We rely on donations and while they don’t always come in when you need them, this one sure did,” she said. “I was on top of the world when I received the e-mail. I showed everyone—and immediately called Jeff to thank him.”