Hospital Auxiliary’s 2019 Festival of Trees net over $50,000 for Foundation needs

POSING WITH PUMPS- Members of the PECMH Foundation and PECMH Auxiliary posed for a photo in front of two of the new 15 IV Infusion Pumps now in use at PECMH. The PECMH Auxiliary donated $50,000 from the proceeds raised at the 2019 Festival of Trees to the hospital equipment fund. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette Staff)




The Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Auxiliary (PECMHA) continued their tradition of giving on Thursday with a gift to the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation (PECMHF).

Several Auxiliary volunteers joyously handed over the proceeds raised at the 2019 County Festival of Trees held at Isaiah Tubbs Resort on November 29 through December 1.

I’ve spoken to members of the auxiliary on a few other occasions since I became Chair and I feel such a heart felt kinship with you folks, I call you the angels of our Foundation and that’s what you are, you’re there for us and you have our backs,” stated Barbara McConnell, Chairperson of the PECMHF. “Every time we’re in a situation where we need to look for additional funds to support some of the most important aspects of providing equipment for our hospital, the Auxiliary comes through.”

Festival goers supporting the Auxiliary’s 12th annual Festival of Trees helped raise $50,000 for the purchase of 15 IV Infusion Pumps.

An infusion pump is a medical device that delivers important nutrients and medications into a patient’s body in controlled amounts. These pumps can deliver insulin or other hormones, antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, and pain relievers and are used throughout Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital.

The Festival of Trees committee along with the PECMHA board and volunteers extend a heartfelt thank you to the people who donated, and bid on the beautifully decorated trees, purchased baked goods, draw tickets and items from the Second Time Around Shop Christmas Boutique,” said Jack Starkey, outgoing chairperson of the 2019 Festival of Trees Committee. “We’re also thrilled to have the support of so many local musicians who helped fill the dining room at Isaiah Tubbs with merry songs and entertainment. 209 entries were bid on and the festive food sale held in Lower MacDonald Hall was a tremendous success.”

Shannon Coull, executive director of the PECMHF reports fundraising for this year’s equipment campaign ongoing as the organization works to reach its $398,200 goal by March 31, 2020.

With the Auxiliary’s support, The Foundation is getting closer to reaching their goal.

The PECMHF plays a critical role in providing funding for essential, specialized equipment. Last year there were over 41,000 patient visits to our County hospital. The PECMH Emergency Department alone cared for over 50 people, on average, each day.

Support from partners, like the Auxiliary, is so important because medical equipment is not paid for by the government. Hospitals need their communities to help equip them, through donations to the Foundation.

The organizers of the Festival of Trees, under the leadership of Jack Starkey have worked so hard to make this annual event an important County tradition that ushers in the Christmas season,” expressed Coull. “The volunteers have also worked hard to maintain a family-oriented event, with fun activities for everyone. You (the Auxiliary) are the fabric in our community but it also helps bring our community together. I picture a crocheted blanket where that’s our community and when the Festival of Trees comes it becomes a quilt, tightening all those strings and pulling us all together.”

The PECMHA’s cumulative giving total to the Foundation now sits at $2,002,466 since 1998.

It’s remarkable to think that the work the Auxiliary does has accumulated over the years has led to such an astonishing amount. Since 1998,  the Auxiliary has donated to the foundation more than $2 million, so to say this community could not do without you is an understatement,” McConnell said. “I’m sure everyone that knows the work of the auxiliary would be very grateful for the work you do, but to go beyond that, to the things you do in this community that give people light and spirit and fun, is just amazing.”

The 13th annual Festival of Trees is slated for November 27 to November 29, 2020 and will again be held at Isaiah Tubbs Resort. Auxiliary Volunteer Liz Jones will be taking over the Festival of Trees Chairperson role from Jack Starkey.

The Auxiliary is indebted to many people, who have worked cheerfully and tirelessly to make the Festival of Trees a very special event: our sponsors and donors, the Festival Committee, our volunteers and friends who worked many hours, all those who baked and bought and preserved and purchased, the boutique and the many musicians who freely gave of their time and talent,” said Cathy Starkey, president of the PECMH Auxiliary. “Isaiah Tubbs Resort donated a beautiful space for our event, and their staff helped to create a warm Christmas atmosphere. Many thanks to Santa and Mrs. Claus and Santa’s photographer, too! Thanks also to Picton Home Hardware for helping us source the trees.”

The Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation is a charitable organization whose mission is to raise money to advance health care for the people of Prince Edward County.