Lion’s Head Hospital Auxiliary Keeps “Raising The Bar”

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Submitted by Sharon Winegarden

Once again the Auxiliary has experienced a banner year with generous donations from the community at every event.

We started off in June with an annual perennial plant sale which continues to sell over $5,500 in plants. Lots of digging, potting and re-planting goes into the efforts of the avid gardeners, who start as soon as the frost is out of the ground.

As soon as the May 24th weekend arrives, the Book Store opens and continues until Christmas. Used books fly out of the room on a daily basis, with more returning as home libraries are plundered and old favourites brought in to share.

The July 1st parade sees many of our members sporting the red t-shirts of the Auxiliary and displaying our banner as they walk in front of the little house on wheels. One of the men in the Auxiliary, Fred Heise, is quite the carpenter and has designed a little house on wheels that carries some of the older members, bearing flags and waving merrily. This house is also used in the Christmas parade with gingerbread decoration and Santa sitting by a fireplace with his helpers.

A huge effort then takes place to organize and run the yearly Yard Sale, which takes up the whole arena floor space with furniture, dishes, toys, exercise and outdoor equipment, linens and of course, books. Opening for only a few hours on a Saturday in July and again for three hours the following day, the sale continues to be the largest fundraiser for the Auxiliary with receipts of over $18,000 this year. Everyone turns out to organize the tables, transport the donated goods and then clean up afterwards. Much of what is left over can be donated to other organizations and the men of the Auxiliary head off in their trucks in many directions to deliver same.

A local teenager, Brooklyn Hewton, has organized a Country Music Fest for the past two years and with Auxiliary help at the door, serving food and selling tickets, she has donated the proceeds to the Auxiliary. This year we received $7,900.

The Fall initiative is a clothing drive where linens, clothing, pillows, purses and much more are collected in bags and picked up by the Kidney Foundation of Canada. That organization then sorts and sells the contents where needed and pays a stipend based on poundage to the Auxiliary. This year the Auxiliary collected 14,000 pounds of goods!

At this time of year the Auxiliary also decides which equipment to purchase for the Lion’s Head Hospital. They look as well at the larger picture and what the regional hospital is doing to help meet the needs of people on the Peninsula in ways that the smaller facility cannot afford to do. Primary concern last year and for the next couple of years is the MRI machine which is being replaced this year, but there are also other initiatives such as the Mental Health program and the Cancer Care Clinic that need assistance. There is only so much money to go around so the decisions on how to make the best choices are often difficult. Lion’s Head Hospital comes first in these decisions and the Auxiliary makes sure the equipment needed there is a priority.

In December the Cookie Walk generates around $3,000 in sales from cookies, squares, bread, a craft table and a silent auction, after which the ladies and gents take a break in anticipation of the spring planning.

The year closes with a Christmas Dinner where all members and spouses are welcome to enjoy a turkey feast and relax from all their endeavours over the year (until it all begins again in the spring!)

Since becoming a registered charity in 1999, the Lion’s Head Hospital Auxiliary has donated $500,000 to the Lion’s Head Hospital and Grey Bruce Health Services for capital equipment. What an amazing record for this small community of caring people! It is all due to efforts not only of the volunteers who faithfully do the work to raise the funds, but of the community at large that supports these events with enthusiasm and generosity. Thank you to all our volunteers, our hospital staff, our faithful donors and to everyone who contributes to the excellent healthcare on the Bruce Peninsula. We would be nowhere without any or all of you. We are looking forward to an even more fulfilling and exciting year in 2019 and wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.