With the help of bake sales, lotteries and pancake breakfasts, the Summerset Manor Ladies Auxiliary has, over the past three decades, purchased countless items for the manor and its residents.
Now, they are looking forward to helping ensure that the new multi-million dollar manor, which is set to open in January 2013, has all the comforts of home.
“Most of us enjoy it and you do get satisfaction out of it,” said Sharon Arkwell, an auxiliary member for several years.
Jane Somers added, “Any of us who have somebody that was in one of the manors, you realize how much help it does do and how much good comes from it.”
Linda MacNeill, an auxiliary member for more than a decade, said there’s a misconception out there that government provides everything that the manor and its residents need.
“There is a need for extra money for the manor,” she said. “We need help and we need people to buy tickets when we go to sell them. We need them to go to the pancake breakfast and to join the auxiliary.”
The auxiliary currently has 22 active members, many who have been volunteering for a decade or longer. Most are retired and getting older themselves.
“It’s hard on a lot of the auxiliary,” said MacNeill. “They find the pancake breakfast hard because you’re on your feet three or four hours and you are running and you are serving.”
Arkwell said although a few new members join each year, recruiting younger members has been a challenge.
That was the case with the Wedgewood Manor Ladies Auxiliary. Two years ago, with an aging membership and no new members coming in, that auxiliary disbanded.
With only a handful of fundraising events annually and one meeting a month, the time commitment isn’t huge but their efforts reap big rewards.
Somers, a member for almost eight years, noted that between 2000 and 2009 the auxiliary raised $45,000 to purchase items for the manor.
Over the past year alone the auxiliary has purchased a flat screen television, guitar, purchased a karaoke machine and three CD players and contributed $3,000 towards wages for summer students at the manor.
Summerset Manor’s activities director Candy Beaton said as the level of nursing care has increased over the past decade for the manor’s 82 residents so have the needs.
“The auxiliary has been a tremendous support supplying things to help out, such as beds, and other things that help promote a more home-like environment for these residents, such as a TV they just purchased,” said Beaton. “Their goal is for the residents and that’s what we are here for, to make sure the needs of the residents are met, socially and spiritually, any way we can.”
Just this week she approached the auxiliary to help provide décor and other items to the new manor. The auxiliary immediately approved a $10,000 donation.
“They are definitely providing things that we are not able to get in the budget,” said Beaton. “Having the auxiliary there is a great benefit. They provide the little extras to the residents.”