The Fishermen's Memorial Hospital Auxiliary was organized in August, 1948; four years before the hospital opened in July, 1952.
A local hospital had long been a dream of the Lunenburg community. The doctors and a group of supportive citizens were finally able to make this dream come true by soliciting and raising the necessary funds, without government assistance.
Consequently, over the years, the citizens of Lunenburg and area have been very committed to the welfare of Fishermen's.
In those early years many Auxiliary members sewed bedding, hospital shirts, diapers, etc. in anticipation of the hospital opening. Another annual activity was to conduct a door to door campaign to collect $1 memberships for the Hospital Society. The Fisheries Exhibition was a big attraction at that time and the parade provided a good opportunity for members to conduct a Hospital Tag Day(collect donations for an FMH Auxiliary tag to wear), a practice that went on as long as the Exhibition did.
Once the hospital opened, fundraising became an important focus (to help pay off the debt!). The suggestion of a local cookbook eventually evolved into the now well known Dutch Oven. Its amazing reception has netted the Auxiliary about $150,000 over the years. Another project saw Auxiliary members distribute "hospital" calendars throughout the town; the calendars had slots to insert 25
cents each month as a donation. These would be collected and replaced each year. Another big fundraiser was the operation of an ice cream booth at the Exhibition; later, lobster sandwiches were sold as well.
A residence for nurses was built in the 50's to help entice more nurses to Fishermen's. Several international nurses came to work at the hospital and were a great addition to the staff and community. The Auxiliary furnished a very attractive reception room for the use of the nurses. This building today is used for offices and a detox centre. Later, "candy stripers" were organized to assist the nursing staff.
Over the years monies were raised through "Huttzlesuppe" (spring fairs), large formal dances, and Bowl for Dollars. Celebrations were held to recognize the Auxiliary's 25th, 50th and 60th anniversaries.
Today our main fundraisers are the Hospital Gift Shop, the 200 Club Lottery and a large bake sale during the annual Festival of Crafts in July, with contributions from the people of the town and surrounding communities. A Golf Tournament is held each year at the Bluenose Golf Club, organized by a dedicated group of golfers with support from Auxiliary members; all money raised is given to the Auxiliary.
In addition to supporting Fishermen's and our other South Shore Regional Hospitals with equipment and furnishings, our Auxiliary has contributed to the health care of the community. We provide bursaries for selected local students pursuing studies in health related fields who commit to returning to the area to work. The Auxiliary also runs a Foot Clinic, a Well Women's Clinic, and provides support to Meals on Wheels with volunteers and funds.
In 2013 The Auxiliary celebrated the 60th birthday of the Dutch Oven Cookbook. A fifties style luncheon was held on June 6th and featured recipes from the cookbook. Coinciding with the celebration, Nimbus Publishing launched a new, revised Dutch Oven. The old recipes were typed, new recipes were added, and a new cover was featured. Both old and new editions were available at the luncheon. The Auxiliary continues to receive royalties from the sale of both editions.
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