St. Paul’s Home Ladies Auxiliary recently held its final meeting due to its aging membership.
The group decided to dissolve at a meeting, Sept. 20, 2021, and the final meeting was held, June 13.
Established in 1981 under the guidance of Sister Jean Zemliak, the auxiliary was a volunteer organization dedicated to assisting residents of St. Paul’s Home by personal involvement with activities and fund-raising for items that would enhance the quality of the residents’ lives.
Betty Stephens, who was with the ladies auxiliary at the hospital at the time, was asked to assist in getting the St. Paul’s group off the ground.
“They asked her to come down and she came down and organized the first meeting. And that’s how it started, way back in 1981,” said auxiliary president Leana Compton.
The group’s major fund-raising event was the annual Strawberry Tea and Bake Sale, as well as a garage sale for two or three days in the facility’s parking lot, not to mention various raffles and donations. In total, the auxiliary raised more than $300,000 over the years, with more than $250,000 worth of items purchased.
“The other $50,000 would be to support birthday parties. We’d buy cake and ice cream. We always came to help the residents’ monthly birthday parties before COVID,” Compton said.
Auxiliary members also took residents to the Strawberry Tea and they assisted with bingos, as well.
There were only six or seven members to start, but Compton said they eventually averaged about 30 members, 20 of whom were active. By the end, there were only six active volunteers, with another six associated members.
“There’s just so many who are in their mid-80s, high-80s. They walk with walkers. And even the associate ones, they still want to get involved if we had a chance to do anything. But right now since COVID, we’re not allowed to come in this building at all,” she said.
Compton has tried to recruit new and younger members and, while there was some interest, none lasted more than a year or two. Compton noted all monies raised have been spent.
Among the items purchased over the years were Century bathtubs, an automatic wheelchair washer, Medichairs, wheelchair weight scale, blanket warmer, 34 electric bed and bedside table sets and overbed tables.
The dining room and activity area received couches, table and chair sets and window coverings.
Donations to the dietary department included dishes, dish heater and insulated food carts.
Items for the activity department included a smart board, karaoke machine, stereos, televisions, video equipment and sound systems and a bingo machine.
Recently the auxiliary furnished the St. Paul’s Visitation Room, a private room where families can get together for coffee and a visit or hold a special party for their loved one.
The group, Compton said, has always followed Sister Jean’s mantra, which states, “Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14).