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Emmanuel Auxiliary members devoted to organization

EMMANUEL AUXILIARY MEMBERS Aletha Hein, Marilyn Hedstrom, Marie Ash and Marianne Burnside in the recently furnished library.1 / 2
Involved in the gift shop are Ruth Seal and Mary Waalen.2 / 2

"Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in." -- Marjorie Moore

Those are the words the members of the Emmanuel Auxiliary serve by.

The men and women of Emmanuel Auxiliary are busy bees. They are involved in the gift shop, bingo, funeral preparation, bake sales, WE Feast preparation and more.

On Monday, Nov. 8, the group will be hosting a meeting (they have three a year), and are hoping to show off their organization to some new potential members. They meet at noon in Emmanuel.

"It started with just an extra pair of hands that needed to do all the things that needed to be done," Vicki Marthaler said.

Marthaler serves as host to the Auxiliary and is the liaison between Emmanuel, where she serves as chaplain, and the organization. She is also a member of the Auxiliary, a cost of $10 a year.

She guesses the auxiliary is about 40 years old, and "it started with women who either had their mothers or relative here, and they wanted to enhance the care over and above what Emmanuel was already doing."

Since then, men have joined, and the organization continued to grow. There are about 50 members currently.

"They are actively involved with fund-raising for Emmanuel," Sandy Lia said. Lia, who now works for Emmanuel, once served on the committee. Now, she said, "I keep them up to date on events and marketing."

Auxiliary Vice President Marianne Burnside helps with the library, which was established a year ago.

"It has western, pocketbooks, religious/inspirational and fiction," she said.

There is also a computer for people to use, and the library is located just off the chapel area in the nursing home. The auxiliary financed the start-up of the library.

Mary Waalen takes care of the gift shop and its products. She has been a part of the auxiliary and the gift shop for about a year.

"I purchase items for sale in the gift shop and also mark prices on items," she said.

Those items, she said, come from her "scrounging" at rummage sales, thrift stores and from donations "so the cost can stay at a minimum." She also purchases new items, like greeting cards, holiday items and more.

The money raised from the gift shop sales goes toward "different things needed by residents," Waalen said. Dishes, silverware, exercise equipment and such are some examples of items the auxiliary has purchased for residents.

Hours for the gift shop are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1 to 3 p.m., and Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon. Hours can vary because it is all volunteer-run.

"Anyone can shop there, not just residents," said Waalen.

And while the space is fairly tight now, Waalen said they are hoping to increase that soon.

"We're hoping to have a bigger space after the first of the year," she said.

The Auxiliary does annual fund-raisers including Christmas at Emmanuel, which includes a treasure and bake sale, and Tree of Giving, which is a mailing asking for the community to support a particular project.

Some of the Tree of Giving projects include bookcases for the library, bariatric bed, dishes -- "which is a lot when you're buying enough for 140 people" -- and a Nu-step.

"They work really hard at doing things for residents," Marthaler said. "This year they want to raise enough money for a soft serve ice cream machine, at the residents' request."

They also help prepare for funerals if the family wishes, help residents with gardening in the summer and help with any list of needs.

"It's volunteers who want to enhance the care of residents over and above what's already being done," Marthaler said. "We just welcome extra hands and hearts to help to enhance the care residents are being given."

"I think it's a worthwhile organization," Waalen said of the auxiliary. "The rewards are so great working with the people and residents. And the auxiliary members are super. Their hearts are in the right place."