Lucky Ducks will float again for hospitals’ fundraiser
Lucky Ducks as depicted on this shirt are an important fundraising tool for the Harrington Auxiliary, whose members work tirelessly for equipment and services.
By JANET STOICA
You know them, you love them, and you’ve proven over the many years of the Harrington Auxiliary’s Lucky Duck fundraiser event that it’s a proven winner for raising valuable scholarship funds for students in the towns served by the two campuses of UMass Memorial Health Harrington Hospital.
The event is customarily held at the Southbridge Town Common where the numbered Lucky Duck floating ornaments are available for participants to choose when making a donation. There are cool prizes for those Lucky Ducks that are randomly plucked from the water during this great afternoon outdoor fun event. The Webster and Southbridge hospitals have also been the beneficiaries of additional fundraisers that have been established by the Auxiliary. The group has worked tirelessly and persistently over the many years of their existence, including during the times of COVID, to raise funds for equipment and services at the UMass Memorial Health Harrington Hospital facilities in the two towns.
The Lucky Ducks are certainly not the Auxiliary’s only fundraising event as they have recently completed their $10,000 pledge for the renovation of the Cancer Center Pharmacy in Southbridge in June 2022 as well as their pledge to the Southbridge ER renovation completed in June 2022. They appropriated (and awarded per department requests) $10K in 2021-2022 for the Webster and Southbridge campuses. The Webster hospital now has 24 in-patient beds in their Psychiatric Unit along with 16 in Southbridge and room for future expansion.
Barbara Avery, president of the Auxiliary and a member since 2012, stated that the group’s mission is to raise funds to support all hospital programs. “Our efforts have benefitted various hospital departments with services and items such as childrens’ toys, basic Spanish classes for our Emergency Room personnel to assist patients of Spanish descent, comfort supplies, therapy games, art supplies for the behavioral health departments, and scholarships for students totaling $15,000. The scholarships are awarded to those students who are pursuing healthcare careers. This year the Auxiliary will award five $3,000 scholarships.
“We also work with Thompson Speedway every August to hold our Annual Classic Car Show. It’s such a great event and we are very grateful for Thompson Speedway’s support of this worthy cause. There are close to 100 vehicles in the fields of the Speedway where the cars on display are also judged. We hold 50/50 raffles and trophies are awarded to the winning vehicles. The Speedway graciously opens its grounds to the public all day. We have deejays playing great music with continuous additional raffles. It’s one of our most well-attended events and has become very successful.”
The Auxiliary has provided financial support for many projects that benefit staff, patients and the local community including $50,000 for the new Webster Emergency Department, $25,000 for the Webster Recovery Services Unit, $50,000 for the Southbridge Emergency Department’s renovation project, and seed money for the robotic Rapid Disinfector.
According to their historical records, the Auxiliary is an organization that began in 1932 and is composed of dedicated men and women who have joined together to volunteer their time and talents to support and enhance hospital services. They work to create interest in their members and the public to volunteer their time and service without financial compensation. Their many fundraisers provide the two hospital campuses with needed money for equipment and programs to enhance patience comfort and care and their continued interaction with the communities provide a vital link between the two hospitals and the 17 towns they serve.
The group has recently welcomed a local church club whose members chose to begin a new phase of community service. The Auxiliary welcomes and looks forward to meeting and working with new members from all denominations and churches. If there are other groups in the 17-town area who are seeking to offer their volunteerism for this valuable and worthwhile team, please contact Kelly Hibbard, Manager of Volunteer Services at (508) 765-9771, Ext. 6472. They will welcome you and your greatly appreciated service!