St. Martha’s Regional Hospital Auxiliary members are busily preparing for this year’s Jingle Bell Frolic, which will be held on Friday, Nov. 24, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Clare Marie Gathering Place in the St. Martha’s Regional Hospital.
This year’s Frolic is under the new management of auxiliary members Alena Wilgenhof and Angela Bowles, who are doing a superb job of coordinating the many aspects of the event.
Auxiliary members are assisted by numerous volunteers who exemplify generosity in sharing their skills and time. One example is the group which provides the signature offering of seafood chowder; a favourite every year, which requires the help of many hands to ensure the availability of this delicious treat.
Preparation of the chowder, under the leadership of chef Marc Gabrieau and Dr. Mike Silver, involves a team of ‘chowder choppers’; approximately 10 volunteers who, the night before the event, chop all the vegetables for, approximately, 600 bowls.
Availability of the chowder to businesses is under the coordination of Jim Murray and Angela Bowles who approach all, well in advance, to take orders for chowder to be delivered to their workplace.
Hilary MacIsaac approaches the businesses who generously donate ingredients, and he and Charlie Gallant work to supply all the take-out orders.
MacIsaac also coordinates the team of volunteers who work at the event; ensuring the trays are filled with the full lunch and used trays are cleaned.
Gabrieau not only makes the chowder in the morning; he also procures most of the seafood and, like many of these volunteers, has been doing so for 10 years.
And that’s just the chowder.
The bake table is always laden with donations of delicious baked goods, preserves, fudge, etc., and brought in by community members as well as a team of auxiliary members.
Likewise, items for Attic Treasures, Oldies and Goodies, the wreaths, greenery and crafts tables are provided by many people who support the work of the auxiliary as members or ‘Auxiliary Friends.’ The Frolic will feature the ever-popular wreaths, bows, and many other Christmas craft items created and decorated by the auxiliary’s team of talented crafters.
The festive atmosphere and goodwill is palpable and is sure to lift the spirits of anyone attending.
The main raffle prize this year is a hooked rug; another example of great teamwork. The rug was worked on and generously donated by the Antigonish Highland Hookers.
Tickets on the rug are now available at the Breakaway Cafe and Gift Corner, in the main entrance of the hospital, as well as from auxiliary members and, on occasion, at Sobeys and Superstore. Tickets will also be available at the Frolic.
Other items to be raffled are; a stone carving donated by Arsenault Monuments and a framed photograph of Ballantyne’s Cove, taken during Hurricane Juan, by John Berridge. A fruit cake completes the festive raffle items and has been provided by Kay Myers.
On the silent auction table, bids will be available on a carved stone donated by Joe Arsenault and a basket of jams and jellies prepared and donated by Florence McCarron and Janice Chiasson.
A recently added offering is a pair of Ulu earrings fashioned by Antigonisher Shelly MacDonald, a silversmith now working in Whitehorse, Yukon. The earrings are identical to those purchased by Princess Kate – Duchess of Cambridge, on her recent visit to Whitehorse.
The auxiliary donates approximately $200,000 per year to the hospital for equipment and other patient needs. Funds are raised through the Frolic, the annual indoor fair in May (Mayfest) and through the operation of the Breakaway Cafe and Gift Corner.
So far this year, purchases include a colposcopy camera and computer, an ECT machine for mental health as well as partial funding of the artist in residence program, for a five-year period.
“The support of this community is incredible,” a release from the auxiliary, noted.
“Whether it is the volunteers working in the cafe, gift shop, at the Frolic and Mayfest, those donating items for sale and raffle, or those attending the events; the auxiliary can’t express their gratitude enough.”
If folks have items to donate, they can be left at the Clare Marie Gathering Place on Thursday (Nov. 23), from 1:30 to 8 p.m.
Welcomed are baked goods, fudge and items for the Attic Treasures and Oldies but Goodies tables.
There is no charge for parking, courtesy of the Administration of St. Martha’s Hospital, and there is no admission charge. A door prize, donated by Central, will be offered.
If you would like further information, please contact Wilgenhof at 902-867-2667, Bowles at 902-863-8433 or Sue O’Brien at 902-863-1479.