It’s been a minute. A lot has happened and a lot has changed over the 3 years, 5 months since COVID-19 became a fear, a reality, and crisis, and now our new normal. Or 1245 days of learning to live with a virus that changed almost everything we do. Not going to dwell on that, but it is important to say that this is not gone; as of this writing, we are in an outbreak. The difference now is how we deal with this and how prepared we are to react. “We’ve Got This” is an appropriate phrase here at Grove.
But moving forward, we now have a lot going on. For residents, activities are back in full swing and, man-oh-man does live music sound great here on Tuesday afternoons. Residents are going on outings to the garden center, trips to the beach, a bus ride out to the zoo, and more. An ice cream truck stopped by, treating staff and residents to sundaes and cones on a really hot day.
There was Easter Celebrations, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and of course CANADA DAY. Country Day had a great new singer come by to entertain the residents and she brought the YODEL to the home; she really was incredible. The Reptile Zoo slithered in with creepy snakes and frogs and lizards OH MY. Seriously, the residents have loved celebrating together and being entertained week in and week out. Next up? A PIG ROAST in the fall!
On the “bricks and mortar” category, we have been preparing for a Home Redevelopment for a few years. This year, plans were put in place to take advantage of Ministry funding incentives, to redevelop the Maple and Aspen home areas. The project was exciting and required us to move quickly, but in the end the Ministry put project changes in place that prevented us from moving forward at this time. There is a lot more to this story, as this is an incredibly edited paragraph; but for now, we are preparing for the next round of funding. But…
…around every big project, little projects sneak up. Part of the redevelopment plan would allow us to convert the Aspen Dining Room into a new café, and while we are at it, let’s convert that vegetable garden into a fully accessible Courtyard for residents, families and staff! Wanting to move forward on this part of the project, we were extremely humbled and grateful to the George C Hunt Family Foundation who stepped in and funded the entire project! The Courtyard is being excavated, concrete is planned, beautiful/permanent/accessible furniture is ordered, a new automatic door and ramp will be installed, and so much more. The dining room wall has come down and lots of work will be done in that space, but for now this will remain a resident dining room until the redevelopment happens in the near future. If you are a visitor to the home, we hope you like what you are seeing so far!
ICYMI, we had a flood in the spring. A pipe burst above our kitchen and wreaked havoc on affected floors. It was all hands on deck that weekend mopping up water that was causing so much damage. As a result, we have new flooring installed (THANK YOU INSURANCE) in the auditorium, in the Aspen Dining Room, and most incredibly, in the kitchen. These were huge projects that took a ton of time and an enormous amount of organization, but we are almost done. A HUGE thank you to the staff and to our visitors who put up with detours and food service changes during these renovations. Our KITCHEN staff were super heroes who rocked a mobile kitchen that was set up in our parking lot for weeks. No, despite inquiries, it was not a food truck open for business!
So back to that Courtyard Project. Since the redevelopment is postponed, we opened the original CAFÉ a few weeks ago to bridge the gap in service. It is a true delight having volunteers back who have been waiting for this to happen. Families and residents can now go to the café to have a snack and have a change of scenery. The café is open Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm. Special days are planned including HOT DOGS and PIZZA.
A moment of self-indulgence please. For this writer, it has been a pleasure posting blogs here. Sharing what is happening here at Grove is important to us. Our readers are families, friends, staff, volunteers, and community. It is these people who support us, encourage us, and truly care about the work we do and the residents we care for. We’ve been here for 55 years, tucked into the east end of Barrie doing great work and providing excellent care for residents who don’t just need us; they depend on us for their daily needs, for an activity, for meals, for a hug when that is what is needed most. Yes, I see that happen every single day. Our staff are here 24 hours a day/365 days a year. We never close. We never stop caring. That is what I will miss the most when I retire in September; the staff who care, clean, fix, cook and lead. To the ones that lead; it has been a pleasure working alongside of this tireless lot; I can’t imagine the last 1245 days with any other group. This is a village in the true sense of the word. Grove is not about the walls, or the floors, or the repairs. Sure, those things are important, but Grove is all about the people inside these walls. If you are ever considering offering support to this incredible not-for-profit and charitable home, I encourage you. I can promise that your generosity will be valued and respected and truly appreciated. This is a good place that does good work by good people, for the very best people; the residents who call us HOME. Be well.