January marked the 65th anniversary of the OSF St. Francis Hospital Auxiliary.
A group of 48 women under the leadership of Sister M. Borromea Suplicka organized the group on February 2, 1955, to promote and advance the work of OSF St. Francis Hospital.
Until 1960, the gift shop was operated by the Sisters of The Third Order of St. Francis. In February 1960, the auxiliary took over running the gift shop, which today is an active and essential part of the group’s fundraising activities. The gift shop is open seven days a week and staffed entirely by volunteers, who also stock and supply the merchandise. All proceeds are used to purchase needed equipment for patient care and furnishings, as do all fundraising monies.
In addition to staffing the hospital gift shop, volunteers also staff the hospital and medical office building information desks and surgery waiting lounge. They host numerous fundraisers during the year, including the annual “Lights of Love” holiday campaign, bake sales, uniform sales and book sales. Volunteers also maintain the hospital Serenity Garden.
Through gift shop sales and fundraisers, auxiliary members donate approximately $60,000 each year to the Hospital and Medical Group. Their most recent gifts included approximately $35,000 to purchase new furniture for both the patient waiting room and the private family waiting room of the emergency department. They realized how well received the new surgery waiting room furniture was (a previous purchase by the auxiliary) and decided it would be a good investment.
“We are grateful for our volunteers who give of their time in support of the Sisters’ Mission,” said Jean Arvan, director of philanthropy. “They truly are an asset to our hospital and community.”
The OSF St. Francis Hospital Auxiliary has approximately 100 dedicated men and women who donate roughly 10,000 hours per year. In addition to the satisfaction of giving back to the community, volunteers also receive recognition during the year, opportunities to meet new friends and an opportunity to use skills they may not otherwise be able to.
New volunteers are welcome. For more information about opportunities, contact Jean Arvan at 786-5707, ext. 5516, or visit www.osfstfrancis.org.