Auxiliary seeks helping hands

By Brian Sweeney
The Auxiliary of Margaretville Hospital and Mountainside Residential Care Center is seeking a few good men and women to help strengthen the organization’s outstanding volunteer efforts.
For nearly half-a-century, auxiliary volunteers have worked as fund-raisers on behalf of the hospital. The group’s efforts have also benefitted the hospital’s sister facility, Mountainside Residential Care Center, which was established in 1994.

During the past five years alone, the auxiliary has raised more than $500,000 to benefit the healthcare campus. Since its formation, the auxiliary has generated many millions of dollars through a variety of fund-raising efforts.

The auxiliary’s Antique and Flea Market at the Margaretville Village Park has been a annual attraction on the first Saturday in August for more than 40 years. Each summer, the market draws thousands of visitors to the community and is an important revenue-producer for the organization.
The group’s fund-raising efforts also include the annual Harvest Moon Ball and a Fashion Show — exclusively featuring apparel from the auxiliary’s best-known operation, the Thrift Shop on Main Street, Margaretville.

The Thrift Shop is a favorite shopping destination for patrons from throughout the region. The store is widely recognized for offering a large assortment of high quality goods at unbeatably low prices.
As with all of the auxiliary’s endeavors, the Thrift Shop is run solely by the generous donation of time from a team of dedicated volunteers. There are currently 26 Auxiliary members who help staff the Thrift Shop, donating approximately 900 man-hours of time each week to operate the store.

Strong devotion
The Thrift Shop volunteers are very devoted and the auxiliary’s board of directors is actively seeking additional community members to help share the many duties involved in the store’s management.
“Staffing the shop involves commitment from a lot of people,” explained Auxiliary President Eleanor Aulino. “We are always looking for community members who are willing to assist by donating a few hours of their time to help lighten the workload.”

Mrs. Aulino said the auxiliary has about 50 active volunteers and noted that community members are welcome to lend a hand with any of the organization’s events.

“Even if people only volunteer a few hours a month, it makes a huge impact for the auxiliary,” she remarked.

Benefits of volunteerism
In addition to providing much-needed assistance with various auxiliary fund-raising ventures, Mrs. Aulino cited several other points to help inspire folks towards volunteerism, noting:

• It’s a great way to get to know community members;
• Weekenders, their families and guests often utilize Margaretville Hospital’s services and volunteering is a nice means of giving back to the local area;
• Volunteerism provides a personal reward of fulfillment and also the satisfaction derived from working as part of a team effort;
• New volunteers bring welcome insights and ideas to the organization.
• While the group traces its origins nearly half-a-century to its start as the Gray Ladies, today, men are a vital component of the auxiliary membership.

Many changes have occurred since the auxiliary’s formation, but one element that has remained steadfast is the mission to assist Margaretville Hospital (and, later, Mountainside). In recent years, the auxiliary’s fund-raising efforts have helped purchase for the hospital a four-wheel-drive ambulance, a state-of-the-art blood chemistry analyzer, a MUSE cardiology system and a Sonosite Ultrasound for the E.D. Some items purchased for Mountainside include renovation of bath suites, a convection oven, and a medical record back-up system.

The organization’s 2013 fund-raising campaign is earmarked to hopefully assist with the remodeling of the old E.D. and Minor O.R. areas to expand our present Radiology Department.

Financial assistance
The group continues to play a key economic role for the healthcare campus and also serves as a community outreach service for both facilities. Among the primary ways that the auxiliary interacts with the community is through its Wellness Committee, which promotes healthy lifestyles. The work performed by this very active committee includes producing the Marian Connell Wellness Series, a collection of public workshops covering a variety of interesting topics.

Anyone interested in learning more about becoming an auxiliary volunteer is welcome to contact Mrs. Aulino at 845 586-4028 or e-mail: Eleanor@catskill.net