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Angel Squad hoping to raise $60,000

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IF you’re driving over the Maryland Bridge this week, be prepared for a heavenly experience.

Volunteers dressed in angel gowns complete with halos and wings will be on the bridge Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday collecting donations during the morning commute. The money raised will go to the Misericordia Health Centre Foundation (MHCF). Drivers who donate will be treated to coffee, a pastry and a copy of the Winnipeg Free Press.

Tara Woligrocki, resident care manager at Misericordia Health Centre, has been waving at cars with a halo on her head for the past five years. She said the experience has been great despite cold weather and strange looks from drivers.

"It shocks some people to see us because they’re not really aware of what’s going on," said Woligrocki. But after years on the bridge, she said drivers are starting to become more familiar with the display. "It’s just really nice to see the community support us."

The Angel Squad is hoping to raise $60,000 to replace chairs and bedside tables for at least 50 residents in Misericordia Health Centre’s interim-care unit.

"It’s time for the interim care area to be upgraded," said Patti Smith, executive director of MHCF.

The new amenities are a needed update in the unit, which houses over 100 residents waiting to move into a personal care home.

"We’re trying to make it as home-like and comfortable as possible," said Smith.

Residents can be in the centre’s interim-care unit for months before moving into a home. The new chairs and bedside tables will be an added comfort for the duration of their stay.

"It’s shocking for some families to walk into a hospital and see a facility that is dated," said Woligrocki. "It would be helpful if the environment were more pleasing to the eyes and more like home. It would be more welcoming for the residents and families."

The Misericordia Health Centre is currently going through updates and refurbishments.

Last year, the Angel Squad raised about $58,000 to fund life-enrichment programming that included a residents’ choir and the purchase of iPods and headphones for music therapy.

Smith said this year’s Angel Squad, made up of staff, board members and students from nearby schools, is 150 volunteers strong. Housing and Community Development Minister Peter Bjornson and Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital) will also put on the wings and join the effort.

The Angel Squad will also be collecting donations on Tuesday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Shaftesbury Park Retirement Residence and Seine River Retirement Residence. On Wednesday, the Angels will be at the Starbucks at 201 Portage and Winnipeg Square. The Sisters of the Holy Rock will be carolling there from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.

danielle.dasilva@freepress.mb.ca

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