Pomerene Auxiliary’s gift is service

Pomerene Auxiliary’s gift is service

Image Credit: Dave Mast

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is viewed by many as one where people focus on giving and giving thanks.

The staff at Pomerene Hospital clearly understands what it has in the gifts of volunteers from the Pomerene Hospital Auxiliary, especially after more than a year of being without their services during COVID-19 restrictions.

Now with the auxiliary volunteers back in action, it has taken some of the burden off hospital staff.

On Thursday and Friday, Dec. 2-3 at Berlin Grand Hotel, the Pomerene Hospital Auxiliary held its 12th annual Christmas Festival, in which it has local businesses and organizations create Christmas trees, centerpieces and wreaths that are then available for viewing and purchasing.

Cindy Yoder, Pomerene administrative assistant and volunteer coordinator, said this year’s event saw the most donations ever in the 12 years, and all the members who helped decorate and serve at the event were excited to experience that type of community support.

“We had more than 100 sponsors who gave in some way,” Yoder said. “It’s heartwarming to experience that kind of giving.”

The event takes a great deal of work for the actual two days, but the real work begins in the summer as the eight board members dig in to hammer out details and get donors in place.

What they create builds some real Christmas spirit, and many people have made this an annual event on their calendar. In addition, many visitors staying at the hotel wander in and end up enjoying the experience.

Susan Miller, who serves as auxiliary president, takes on a key role in the decorating process for the show. She said it is something she enjoys and likes the idea of spreading Christmas cheer.

“I enjoy decorating, I enjoy the show itself and I think it brings people together to fellowship,” she said. “It’s also really fun for our volunteers to get together and share with one another. This is always something that we all really look forward to each year.”

After last year’s struggles with COVID-19, the auxiliary board was thrilled to be back at its normal routine, of which this fundraiser is a big part. Auxiliary members were present to chat with visitors, sell raffle tickets and take purchase orders from anyone buying one of the decorations.

Auxiliary member Glenda Miller said this fundraiser serves to build the funds necessary for the group to provide help.

“We’re there to do whatever the hospital needs them to do,” Miller said. “We do deliveries, take patients out, deliver flowers, tend to things on each floor and do whatever we can to take some of the burden off the hospital staff. We all really missed that past year when we couldn’t volunteer, but it was nice to get back into the swing of things.”

The volunteers were cleared to return in late February and early March and quickly felt right at home doing their work.

In addition to their volunteer work, they also present fundraisers with the money going right back into the hospital and community.

Yoder said the auxiliary funds were put to good use recently in refurbishing the ambulatory care area.

“It was very outdated and had mismatched furniture and needed some attention,” Yoder said.

The auxiliary paid for a good deal of that, purchasing new chairs for the emergency department as well.

“We are blessed with a terrific, hard-working board, and our volunteers do amazing work in both raising funds and working around the hospital,” Yoder said.

While they never are spotlighted, the hospital team recognizes their value.

Pomerene Hospital CEO Jason Justus, who served as a judge along with Becky Starr and Dave Mast, easily summed up what the auxiliary members mean to him and his staff.

“The auxiliary plays such a vital role with us,” Justus said. “Oftentimes, they are behind the scenes, but the impact they have is right in the forefront of the hospital and what we do each day. We see it through their everyday contributions and in this event, where they bring our community together.”

He said not having the auxiliary for one year created struggles across the board for him and his staff. Such is the important work they do. He said he hopes the hospital never has to go through that type of situation again.

“You could ask any of our staff and they would tell you how much we missed them,” Justus said. “It’s that support they give. They are always there doing small things that mean a lot, and that is the credo they kind of live by. They certainly make a huge impact on Pomerene.”

Yoder said they always welcome new volunteers into the program, and anyone who would like to enroll or ask questions may do so by calling her at 330-675-1584.

“We are always eager to welcome new volunteers who have a heart for serving others,” Yoder said. “All they have to do is fill out an application.”