Brad and Maureen of Ma & Pa's Memory Lane, left,  donated $12,000 to the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation, enough to purchase the last needed stretcher for the Hope hospital. Fund development coordinator with the foundation Robert Beischer holds the other end of the oversized cheque. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

Surprise donation crosses last stretcher off of Hope hospital wish list

Support from community made $12,000 donation possible, say owners of Ma & Pa’s Memory Lane

The owners of Ma & Pa’s Memory Lane want to thank the people of Hope, as they insist it was the people who helped purchase a $12,000 stretcher for the Fraser Canyon Hospital.

The donation was acknowledged, in the typical fashion, with an oversized cheque presented to the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation. But the way the money made its way there is anything but typical.

Robert Beischer with the foundation got a surprise email just before Thanksgiving saying a business in Hope had pledged the money to purchase the last stretcher bed on the hospital’s wish list. “It was a complete surprise,” he said. “It’s rare that we receive, out of the blue, such large and sizeable gifts.”

In 2017, the Fraser Canyon Hospital was in need of four stretchers, as well as two specialized stretchers for gynaecology and bariatric needs. As of Oct. 15, all of these had been crossed off the wish list.

“We can provide not only the patients a higher level of care, but it means we can provide a better working ability for the physicians and other caregivers within the hospital as well, to make sure that they have the latest technology available to them,” Beischer said.

Some of the previous stretchers were quite dated, he added, some with manual hand cranks that were cumbersome to use.

The owners of the antiques, vintage and thrift shop on 6 Avenue, across from the Hope recreation centre, opened their business in August 2019.

“If you had asked us 18 months ago if we’d own a thrift store in Hope, we both would have laughed,” Brad said. “We’ve just been very blessed,” Maureen added. Both preferred to leave their last names out of the paper to put the focus on the community’s involvement in the donation.

As soon as they opened, the idea has been to give back as much as they can. But without knowing exactly how much it would cost to keep the business afloat, the pair were hesitant to go public with their plans.

But the year has gone so well that in addition to $12,000 for the hospital, they are also donating $10,000 in scholarships for Hope high school students. Everything over the costs to run the business is donated back into the community Maureen said, who added that supporting high school students is very close to her heart.

“I grew up in an economically challenged household, we were poor, and when I was in high school I didn’t even know about scholarships,” she said. “Children who are in a position where they want to go to school and they can’t afford to go to school, I wanted to help them. Because I know what it was like, for me not to have a hope for a future.”

“God gets all the glory for this. We’re just a vessel for him, and without the community, and the generosity of the people that are giving us their stuff, we could not do this. We couldn’t have reached our goal,” she said.

Sometimes Brad sings Elvis tunes and that’s how he got in touch with the health care foundation, at a breakfast fundraiser for the hospital.

For Brad, supporting the hospital is all about ensuring that “the best equipment is available at our local hospital here for every resident, including myself. I haven’t had to use the services of the facility and knock on wood, I don’t have to anytime soon.”

The store owners are working to create a store where all demographics can shop, and can find things that are quality and that they can afford.

“I was a thrifter, I was a single mom and thrifting got me through,” Maureen said. “Everybody, in any walk of life, should be able to afford beautiful things and nice quality things.”

While it isn’t advertised, Maureen said they also give away goods to those who are in need of the essentials for life such as clothing or household items.

Brad said they plan to continue giving to the community any and all of the profit from the store. And who they give to is not set in stone.

“As we progress into the year we will likely look to other organizations in the community…to contribute to,” Brad said. “And if somebody wants to approach us at some time…we’re more than open to working with anybody that’s working for the right things.”

Ma & Pa’s Memory Lane accepts donations only during business hours Tuesday through Saturday noon to 5 p.m. or by appointment at 604-828-0996.

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Ma & Pa's Memory Lane owners say their shop is meant to be a place where anyone can come in and find nice, quality items and afford them too. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

Ma & Pa's Memory Lane owners say their shop is meant to be a place where anyone can come in and find nice, quality items and afford them too. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

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