Tree of Lights campaign marks 25 years
Douglas Memorial Auxiliary working to raise $140,000 for new ultrasound
It’s going to be more than a few cups of coffee, but they’ll get the job done. They always do.
The Douglas Memorial Hospital Auxiliary has launched its annual Tree of Lights campaign, which for the past quarter-century has supported the group’s commitment to purchasing crucial equipment for the hospital.
Campaign convener Helen Eggleton said this year it is working toward the $140,000 the auxiliary pledged toward the hospital’s new ultrasound equipment, which it hopes to raise within four years.
It’s an ambitious goal, considering the piece-by-piece manner by which the auxiliary raises its funds. Near the front lobby of the hospital, the auxiliary operates its tuck shop selling small gift items, snacks and beverages.
“That’s a lot of cups of coffee,” Eggleton said.
As the hospital no longer has a cafeteria, the Tuck Shop has picked up some of the slack, offering breakfast, soups and sandwiches, and on Mondays from November until the warmer weather arrives in April chili and toast.
Eggleton said the latter is highly anticipated.
“They’ve been screaming at us for the chili,” she said. “They love the chili and toast.”
But the Tree of Life campaign, now in its 25th year, is the group’s major fundraiser.
“The Tree of Lights is an invitation to the public to help us out with the ultrasound,” Eggleton said.
Its success ultimately determines whether the auxiliary can make its fouryear commitment.
“We’re hoping to do it in less than that,” she said. “And we think we can.”
Carrie Zeffiro, director of development for Niagara Health Foundation, which oversees equipment fundraising for the entire hospital network, said it’s hard to overstate how important the auxiliary’s efforts are. While health care is provincially funded, equipment is not; 100 per cent of it must be paid for through community fundraising. Every year, the hospital sends the foundation a list of priorities, and the foundation communicates that to the auxiliaries, which focus entirely on their local hospital.
“We rely on the auxiliary, as well as our many partners,” Zeffiro said. “We’re very, very lucky that we have so many individuals and businesses who are all working to raise funds for the hospital, and the auxiliary has a long history of being a part of that group.”
Since 1993, the group has raised nearly $2 million toward priority hospital equipment.
The Tree of Lights campaign runs until Jan. 12. Donations of $10 and up are eligible for a charitable receipt. For more information, call 905-378-4647.
Helen Eggleton, convener of Douglas Memorial Hospital Auxiliary's Tree of Lights campaign, is helping spread festive cheer inside the tuck shop.