Providence Mt. St. Vincent auxiliary carries on long tradition: Volunteer Fair set for Aug. 29
By Julie Greene
The Sisters of Providence, in 1923, had just begun building St. Vincent’s Home for the Aged in West Seattle, the precursor to the modern Providence Mount St. Vincent. To help fund St. Vincent’s Home, the nuns charged Sister Daniel with creating a volunteer and fundraising organization among Seattle’s women. Fifty women answered Sister Daniel’s call, forming the Auxiliary.
Inspired by the nuns’ mission to provide housing and care for Seattle’s elderly, the Auxiliary held its first fundraiser in December 1923. It was one of the largest fundraisers Seattle had ever seen, bringing in $14,000, which would be about $208,000 today. Throughout the years, the Auxiliary has continued to hold fundraising events, such as a Spring Party at the Olympic Hotel that donated money to help the nuns buy enough fruit for their yearly canning.
The Auxiliary is still going strong in 2019, operating two popular bazaars annually. Taking place in May and November, the bazaars include bake sales filled with homemade treats and tables featuring items donated by local organizations and individuals connected with The Mount.
“It’s important to note that it’s all volunteer-run, it’s all donated items, and [The Mount] staff will bake for us,” said Margaret LaFranchie, a member of the Auxiliary for 15 years. Running an Auxiliary bazaar is a true community undertaking, as volunteers collaborate with The Mount’s residents and staff to create an event that everyone can participate in and everyone enjoys. The Auxiliary’s hard work pays off, with the organization raising almost $10,000 last year alone.
Whether the year is 1923 or 2019, the Auxiliary’s fundraising continues to support The Mount by raising money to provide residents with a high quality of life. Today, the group’s donations go to The Providence Mount St. Vincent Foundation and help fund the Charitable Support and Wonderful Life programs. These programs allow residents to continue to enjoy full and active lives by providing them with art and music classes, field trips, and more.
LaFranchie notes that joining the Auxiliary is a stepping stone to becoming more deeply involved in life at The Mount. Every Wednesday she volunteers at an art class that brings residents together with the children at The Mount’s world-renowned Intergenerational Learning Center. “I’m very glad that I’m here,” she said.
On Aug. 29, from 3 to 7 p.m., Providence Mount St. Vincent will hold its annual Volunteer Fair, a time for other community members to learn more about volunteering for the Auxiliary or for other areas of The Mount. Other volunteer opportunities include working in the Intergenerational Learning Center, sitting with dying residents, chaperoning field trips or working in the Emilie’s Treasures shop.
As Providence Mount St. Vincent approaches its 100th anniversary, the Auxiliary looks forward to 100 more and is brainstorming exciting events. Keep an eye out for celebrations like a 1920s-themed car show, a tea party harkening back to the Silver Teas once hosted by the Auxiliary, and groups coming to The Mount dressed in 1920s-style clothing.
To volunteer with the Auxiliary or elsewhere at The Mount, contact Storey Squires, Director of Volunteer Services, at email@example.com or 206-937-3700, ext. 28170.