Hospital Auxiliary observes 40 years
WORTHINGTON -- Every month, approximately 40 baby caps are given to newborn infants at Sanford Worthington Medical Center. These caps are knitted by Hospital Auxiliary members.
For 40 years, the Hospital Auxiliary has been helping the hospital in numerous ways. The baby caps are only one of their projects. Last year, the Hospital Auxiliary was able to provide 472 baby caps for newborns.
"There are several ladies, one who remains anonymous, in our auxiliary who knit, and we buy the yarn and the caps are knit and washed and taken up to the third floor. All the babies get a knit cap when they leave," said Diane Waldner, a member of the Auxiliary.
In 1972, Phyllis Seisler and Jan Johnson started the Hospital Auxiliary. They had about 20 members to begin with, and Joy Viessman was one of them.
"We were very pleased with the turnout," said Viessman.
Dues were only $2 a year, according to Viessman.
"We collected those General Mill coupons," Viessman said. "We needed thousands of them!
"I had to sterilize the equipment. Sometimes I'd do it twice to make sure it was free of everything!" Viessman said with a laugh.
"It was more hands-on in the past," said Dee Ella, who has been a member for about 20 years. "There are more government regulations now."
There are now 170 members in the auxiliary, with ages "from old to older," according to Waldner.
"We'd like younger members," said Waldner, "but women who work don't have time to come to the meetings, and they don't think they can participate without attending meetings."
Members are not required to attend meetings, and there are some activities that occur on the weekends and would allow working men and women a chance to participate.
"We'd like for members to put in three hours a month, but even that isn't required," said Waldner.
Meetings are the second Thursday of every month, weather depending.
"We have coffee and refreshments and then we have our meeting," said Waldner.
"Meetings also include an educational topic dealing with something medical," said Ella.
One of the goals of the auxiliary is to provide a scholarship for a hospital employee or student of Minnesota West who is continuing or pursuing their education in a medical or health-related field.
The Dorothy Petsch Memorial Scholarship was created in 1976 and is named after the hospital administrator from 1951 to 1973.
The scholarship is split up into two $500 awards for each year.
"There have been a couple of years where there weren't many applicants," Waldner said. "I think there was one year where we ended up only giving one scholarship away."
The Auxiliary has more than 25 special committees designed to help with services to benefit the hospital and community, ranging from working at the gift shop to fundraising to advertising.
The auxiliary has hosted different types of fundraisers throughout its 40 years of service, including variety shows.
The auxiliary now has three main fundraisers throughout the year. Two are jewelry shows -- one in July and one in October. The other is a Style Show and Salad Buffet, which will also occur in October and is open to the public.
"The monies from the latest jewelry show are going to the dialysis unit to buy some pillows and more comfortable things for the patients that come in for dialysis," said Waldner.
In the past, monies have gone to buying equipment for the ambulance and for purchasing pictures for the hospital. They also plan on refurnishing the pediatric room with donations they've received.
Celebrating its 10-year anniversary, the gift shop itself is also a big moneymaker for the auxiliary and hospital.
It originally started as a service for the hospital. The workers at the gift shop are all Auxiliary members and do not get paid for the job.
The gift shop is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and has a variety of items available to purchase.