Jump directly to:
Quite literally, without our Auxiliaries, some of our hospitals would not exist. In their early days, these dedicated ladies (originally most Auxiliaries were Ladies Aid Societies) raised the funds for hospital furniture, equipment, and even food items, to keep our fledgling hospitals going in several of our communities. Over the years, historical accounts document the fact that our Auxiliaries were prevailed upon by hospital trustees to provide vital funds to keep the doors open.
Not only were Auxilians providing day-to-day support in the hospital, they were influential arbiters of local society, and the Autumn Ball, or Annual Fair was a must-attend event. In their heyday during the 1940′s and 50′s, Junior Auxiliaries and branch Auxiliaries formed to provide hospital support, organize social and fundraising events, and form knitting and sewing circles. As more women began working outside the home, however, the membership of Auxiliaries began to decline, and today, the mainstay of our Auxiliaries are those no longer working or raising young children.
Another fairly recent evolution is the addition of men to the formerly womens-only ranks of Auxiliaries. Many of our Auxiliaries have changed their bylaws to reflect this, and men are now showing an interest in contributing to the work of the Auxiliaries.
The following provides a snapshot of the hard work and initiatives of our six Auxiliaries.
Douglas Memorial Hospital Auxiliary
Douglas Memorial Hospital Auxiliary marked its 80th anniversary in 2012.
Since its formation we have raised over 1.3 million dollars to purchase equipment and furnishings for the benefit of patients at Douglas Memorial. One of our major contributions was the equipping of the Mammography Unit.
We provide bursaries for a maximum of seven studies who are entering first year courses in health related studies.
In 2012 we welcomed 14 new members – a record since our formation.
We are affiliated with the Hospital Auxiliary Association of Ontario. Our goal is "to bring comfort and hope to all who are in distress of mind or body" whether they be patients, family or just simply visitors…while at the same time raising money to enhance patient care and comfort.
We operate a Tuck Shop – where we serve freshly made sandwiches, what has been proclaimed to be “some of the best tasting coffee in Fort Erie” candy and, ice cream treats . We have a wide range of toiletries, greeting cards, wonderfully hand-knit baby items – sweater sets, bonnets, booties, blankets, etc… floral arrangements . and our gift buyers ensure our shelves are well stocked with reasonably priced items.
H.E.L.P.P. (Hospital Equipment Lottery Purchase Program) ticket sales help us in our raising of funds, as does our annual bazaar. Some of our Auxilians interact with long term care patients while others act of Greeters in the Urgent Care Depart, a program we are working on expanding.
Greater Niagara General Hospital Auxiliary
The women’s hospital Auxiliary dates back the early years of the 1900’s, when the Jepson Street hospital opened to serve Niagara Falls residents. Over the years, fundraising efforts gained momentum and in 1960 the Auxiliary began larger projects for GNGH, which by now, had opened the new hospital on Portage Road. In the 80’s, the Auxiliary hit the $1 million mark of giving to the hospital. Around the same time, by-laws were rewritten to allow men as Auxilians and the Auxiliary committed to raise $462,800 for the GNGH Auxiliary Women’s Health Centre. This was a gift that would ensure that the women of our community would have access to excellent health care. In recent years, efforts have been directed towards helping fund the new ER and the Auxiliary pledge now totals $1 million for this exciting project.
Margaret McWhirter, GNGH Auxiliary President, says, "We have a great group of women – 41 strong. Their organizational skills and efforts, with the help of the community, make our fundraising projects a success. Over the years, our Auxiliary has contributed $2.5 million to GNGH to improve the health care in our community."
Niagara-on-the-Lake Hospital Auxiliary
The Niagara-on-the-Lake Hospital Auxiliary was formed in 1920 to provide support to a cottage hospital located on Queen Street. When the current hospital was built in 1950, the Auxiliary continued its dedicated work.
As a result of fundraising efforts, over the years the Auxiliary has purchased many items for the hospital e.g. wheelchairs, over the bed tables, various pieces of medical equipment under $2,000, home theatre for the recreation room, equipped the Audiology Clinic, subsidizes and maintains a Community Foot Care Clinic, awards annually two scholarships to paramedic students at Niagara College, etc. Funds are raised through events such as an annual card party, Christmas raffle, Shred-it.
Moyra McEachern, President NOTL Hospital Auxiliary, says "The Auxiliary will always help the hospital whenever asked. This may be through material purchases or general assistance with patients. Auxilians help patients by doing their hair, nails and make-up as part of the ‘Brighten Your Day’ program, enjoy a ‘Friendly Visit’ with the patients, take patients to and from physiotherapy, maintain part of the garden at the rear of the hospital ensuring flowers are always in bloom in the summer months giving much pleasure to both patients and staff, celebrate major holidays by providing gift bags for all patients, host an annual Victorian tea for patients and their families, have sing alongs and many other activities. The Auxiliary also reaches out into the community by installing Life Line equipment in homes. We have a very dedicated and talented group of members who give many, many volunteer hours to enhance the stay of patients in our hospital."
Port Colborne General Hospital Auxiliary
The Port Colborne General Hospital Auxiliary was formed the in the late 1940’s. During the two-day opening of the hospital in 1951, over 10,000 people visited the new hospital facilities and the Auxiliary served tea to about 3,600 people.
This hard-working group is always looking for ways to raise money for Port Colborne General Hospital. In addition to running the Gift Shop, some projects have been Bake Sales, Bazaars, Spring Yard Sale, and a very successful BBQ & Bake Sale on the hospital front lawn. Recently, the Auxiliary conducted a great fundraiser that started with the donation of a watercolour painting by a Port Colborne artist. A draw was carried out over the summer months at Food Basics and raised over $1,200. Planning is now underway for a Penny Sale. To date, contributions have totaled over $400,000 for Pt. Colborne General Site.
Evelyn Goodings, President PCGH Auxiliary, says, "Our Auxiliary is closely associated with the day-to-day work in the hospital – it is important to keep our staff happy and provide them with much-needed equipment to make their jobs easier and give them more time to spend with the patients. It is nice to hear laughter in the halls and see smiles from the patients. Health care is very important to our aging community and we must ensure that we do all we can to make our community and residents safe and healthy."
St. Catharines General Hospital Auxiliary
Recently, the Auxiliary raised more than $30,000 in support of quality patient care to purchase a new bariatric bed for the Medical Unit thanks to the dedication from the volunteers on the Bingo Team.
The St. Catharines General Hospital Auxiliary was formed in 1865 and has the distinction of being one of the oldest hospital auxiliaries in North America. In the early days, not only did Auxilians can fruit for the hospital kitchen, but assisted in identifying patients in St. Catharines who were in need of hospital care, but couldn’t afford it.
Today, the main goal of the Auxiliary focuses on fundraising. Through the hospital stores, bazaars, mini- bazaars, bake sales, just to name a few, the Auxiliary has raised funds to purchase hospital equipment. Records show that from 1946-2005, over $4 million has been raised. In September 2005, members approved additional funding for a list of priority hospital equipment totalling $259,358.
Recently, the Auxiliary raised more than $30,000 in support of quality patient care to purchase a new bariatric bed for the Medical Unit thanks to the dedication from the volunteers on the Bingo Team. The team of energetic, popular volunteers hosted bingo games at a local hall every other week with the goal of raising funds for hospital equipment. Bariatric equipment is specially designed for patients that exceed 500 pounds to ensure their safety, independence and dignity. The patient population needing this type of expensive, yet vital equipment has increased across the province over the past several years. The funds raised for the new bed is just one example of the invaluable contribution the St. Catharines Auxiliary members make to patients and families each day through the dedicated giving of their talents and energy.
The Auxiliary plays a very important role in the day-to-day activities within the hospital. Not only are they busy raising funds, they have Auxiliary members greeting patients upon their arrival to the hospital, a library cart, shopping cart, members getting patients fresh drinking water – all for the benefit of the patients. On different days of the week, you will find the sewing group, flower ladies and knitting group working in the Auxiliary activity room. The Auxiliary members wear their smocks with pride throughout the hospital.
Welland Hospital Auxiliary
Formed in 1945, the Auxiliary dedicates it efforts to fundraising in support of Welland Hospital Site. Over the years, the Auxiliary has increased the amount of support substantially, and recently completed a $750,000 pledge to renovate the ICU. The Auxiliary just announced it is the lead donor of $1 million towards the permanent Dialysis Unit at Welland Site. Fundraising is accomplished through the highly-successful gift shop and Nevada ticket sales.
Sharon Connelly, President Welland Hospital Auxiliary, says, "Our Auxiliary depends on the Gift Shop to raise funds, and when we’re working there, we really get to know the hospital staff. Our members and our volunteers are very committed to raising the funds for the Dialysis project. Without the community’s support, we wouldn’t have the services and equipment that we depend on available in our hospital today."