Kaarina Moore volunteers on the information desk on the lower level of Lions Gate Hospital. She received recognition this year for her 40 years of service to VCH.

40-year volunteer started as ‘play lady’ on children’s ward making crafts with patients

In 1976 when the country was fixated on the Montreal Summer Olympics, Kaarina Moore stepped onto the pediatric ward at Lions Gate Hospital and started what would become a decades-long career as a volunteer. Fast forward 40 years and Kaarina is still selflessly donating her time.

“I was the play lady in the children’s ward making crafts with the kids, most of whom were in the hospital to get their tonsils removed,” recalls the soft-spoken Kaarina, who is known for her knitting and crocheting skills.

Kaarina is one of more than 480 active volunteers on the North Shore who have provided more than 40,000 hours of time in the hospital and community. Kaarina alone has contributed more than 1,300 hours to the community.

Kaarina also spent 25 years volunteering at the Thrift Shop. In 1999, she became the Co-President of the Auxiliary volunteers and after three years, she started volunteering in Discharge and Delivery.

These days, you’ll find Kaarina behind the information desk on the lower level of Lions Gate Hospital outside the cardiology department every Tuesday morning helping folks find their way to the right location.

Volunteer Kaarina Moore on duty behind the info desk on the lower level of LGH.

‘I’ve been lost myself’

“We get people from far and wide who don’t know their way around,” says Kaarina. “I’ve been lost myself so I like to be able to help people get to where they need to go.”

Not a minute into our conversation, an individual asks where the MRI department is. Without wasting a second, Kaarina pops up from behind the info desk to lead the man to his appointment. She’ll never point or just give verbal directions. Kaarina likes to make sure patients or visitors get to the right place. Being inside a hospital can be a stressful experience for many people.

Whatever can be done to ease their stress is important, says Kaarina.

What some people may not know about Kaarina is she also used to volunteer at Queen Mary Elementary teaching children yoga.

As her kids grew up and finished school, Lions Gate was lucky to get her. She had planned to stop five years ago when she hit the 35-year milestone, but she finds volunteering not only fulfilling but important.

“I’ll do this as long as I can – if they say the need me I’ll stay,” says Kaarina.

So take a moment to thank Kaarina and the many hundreds of Coastal volunteers you come across in your daily routine. We’d be lost without them.

North Shore volunteers:

  • We have 480 active volunteers who have contributed over 40,000 hours in the past year.
  • Our 18 Congregate Meals Program (Diners Club) volunteers provided 1035 hours.
  • Our 120 Residential Care and Assisted Living volunteers provided 4278 hours.
  • Our 16 Adult Day Centre volunteers provided 1064 hours.
  • Our 12 Community Health Clinic volunteers provided 464 hours at Parent & Infant Drop-in and Toddler Immunisation Clinics.
  • Our 60 Hospice, Oncology & Palliative Care volunteers provided 5343 hours,
  • And our 254 LGH Auxiliary volunteers contributed a total of 27,966 hours.

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