Iroquois Memorial Hospice again canceled its largest fundraising event due to COVID precautions. The nonprofit is instead asking those who would have attended this year’s event to simply send a donation instead.

WATSEKA — For the second year in a row, COVID restrictions have put a damper on the largest fundraising event for the Iroquois Memorial Hospital Hospice.

Required mask restrictions made it impractical to hold an in-person indoor event, said La-Zann Yana, the hospice’s volunteer coordinator and outreach director.

Traditionally, the largest event of the year for the hospice is a brunch and silent auction held on the first Sunday in November. As many as 500 people attend, bidding on many items donated by the community.

Yana said plans were put in place to host this year’s event but it was decided that bringing that many people together indoors would not have been wise.

So, instead of an actual event, the hospice is asking that people donate what they might have spent at the event. Donations may be mailed to La-Zann Yana, 200 N. Laird, Watseka, IL 60970. Checks should be payable to Iroquois Memorial Hospice Fund.

Yana says that no particular target has been set up for the drive, but she says donors should know that every dollar donated is important.

Funds donated, she said, go to cover hospice care not funded by insurance or government assistance. The hospice accepts all patients, she said, never turning anyone away because of a lack of coverage or funds. Funds donated also help to pay for the costs of medical equipment not covered.

This year’s event would have been the 24th, she said. Iroquois Memorial Hospital Hospice is in its 25th year and is currently serving 40 patients. Patients come from not only Iroquois County, but also from portions of Vermilion, Ford, Livingston, Champaign and Kankakee counties.

The hospice is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.