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Steering Committee Chair Linda Ricklef welcomes participants to a recent Wellness Collaborative forum (Photo by Rita Van Fleet)

Wellness Collaborative introduces ride-with-a-meal program

By Rita Van Fleet

The Big Canoe Wellness Collaborative (BCWC) recently held one of its semi-annual forums. Steering Committee chair Linda Ricklef welcomed volunteers and reviewed the busy first quarter stats. The Info volunteers handled 65 calls with eight outside referrals. Rides volunteers made 40 trips, the Visits volunteers made 21 visits and the Meals volunteers delivered 11 meals.

Shiraz Alikahn, president of the Wellness Collaborative board, welcomed the attendees, thanked the volunteers for their work, commended the will be community’s support, and reviewed upcoming programs. The Healthy Living Committee planned a salad tasting event in the next week and is working on improving the Trail System with the POA. They are also sponsoring the Community Dinner at The Clubhouse on Lake Sconti on June 27. A series of educational seminars for the summer on brain health and a program on Medicare planned for the end of the year offered in coordination with Piedmont Mountainside Hospital.

Alikahn also discussed the availability of Medical Information Kits at the postal facility or on the website (https://www.bcwell.org/). The Amazon Smile program which allows a percentage of Amazon orders to be donated to qualified organizations was also presented. BCWC is a qualified organization and more information is available on the BCWC website at https://www.bcwell.org/how-can-i-help-2/amazonsmile/.

Forum participants also participated in the initial phase of BCWC’s second SWOT analysis. Meals Coordinator Barbara Schirmer, who brought her organizational planning expertise acquired at Cornell University as assistant director of the Cooperative Extension Service for New York State, to the initial planning and development of the BCWC, facilitated the analysis. SWOT is a strategic planning tool that identifies strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, then establishes achievable objectives to address the organizations perceived needs. Groups brainstormed each of the areas, then presented the info to the entire group. The group then identified the most important areas requiring attention.

Schirmer who has served on the BCWC Steering Committee as Meals Coordinator since the program’s inception in 2015 will soon be stepping down to move closer to family.

Steering Committee Chairperson Linda Ricklef commended Schirmer stating, “Barb Schirmer has been with the Wellness Collaborative since the beginning and was instrumental in developing and implementing our meals program, which to date has served over 170 meals to eligible clients. We wish her much happiness and enjoyment in her new home and will miss working with her in the collaborative.”

Schirmer will be succeeded as Meals Coordinator by Diane LaCharite who will be ably assisted byveteran volunteer Phyllis Hogelin.

The Big Canoe Wellness Collaborative is a non-profit, all-volunteer group formed to provide non-emergency and non-medical wellness services to qualified residents of Big Canoe. Services include transportation & grocery order pickup (BC Rides), caregiver relief/respite and client check-in services (BC Visits) and meals (BC Meals). For additional information call 706-268-3334, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit https://www.bcwell.org/.

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