Carefully trimming and gluing sunshine-face cut-outs to paper cards last week, St. Anthony Hospital auxiliary group members gathered around a table in the building’s dining room and shared stories and laughs while hoping to bring some joy to patients.
“We have a good time,” auxiliary president Carol Arjo said. “We bring scissors, cut and paste, and do whatever the project is for the day.”
The auxiliary group’s Sunshine Committee meets every month to make tray favors, birthday cards and other crafts for patients. They deliver these crafts, interact with patients, and volunteer at the hospital in any way they can.
“You can see the influence our auxiliary group has throughout the hospital,” said Mary Ragsdale, St. Anthony Hospital chief operating officer and chief nursing officer. “They are dedicated, motivated, and make a great impression on our patients.”
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Through fundraising and volunteering, the auxiliary group helps the hospital fulfill its commitments to compassion and quality.
Since 2008, one of the primary ways the auxiliary group has supported St. Anthony is through fundraising. Throughout each year, the group organizes and hosts several fundraising events including two bake sales, a luncheon, and for the first time ever, a fashion show which took place in May.
“The fashion show was a huge success,” Arjo said. “It was fun and everyone had a wonderful time.”
Women of the hospital and auxiliary group modeled clothing from Chico’s and Soma on the catwalk for 130 attendees.
The fashion show raised more than $10,600.
The money will be put toward St. Anthony’s Closet, a program at the hospital which provides free clothing for discharged patients, Ragsdale said.
“The whole event was filled with joy and laughter and I’m still hearing about it now,” she said.
With the success of the fashion show, the auxiliary group and hospital staff hope to continue to put on the event annually.
Auxiliary group bake sales have also wielded extreme success, bringing in up to $1,000. In the past, these earnings have gone to purchasing new ventilators, beds and therapy equipment for the hospital. Now, the focus of these smaller fundraisers has also turned to St. Anthony’s Closet.
“We partner with the auxiliary group members a lot,” Ragsdale said. “They help us improve patients’ experiences at the hospital and help us provide all of the services we need to provide to keep the community healthy.”
The auxiliary group is always open for those interested in joining, and Arjo encourages membership growth.
“We are a fun group of women with varied backgrounds and ages. We love meeting new people and hearing new ideas,” she said. “Plus we get to support the hospital in our community.”
Since the fashion show, auxiliary group members have had the summer free of meetings and event planning, but the group will resume in the fall. Meetings are scheduled for the second Tuesday of each month.
Photographer Peter Haley contributed to this story.