Despite a turbulent year and a half, the Blount Memorial Auxiliary is continuing its tradition of giving back to Blount Memorial Hospital.
For the last 15 months, Auxiliary members have weathered a host of changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including lockdowns, intermittent closures of the hospital’s gift shop – a major source of income for the group – and a lack of annual fundraising events at the hospital. The biggest change, though, was the significant decrease in volunteers onsite.
“Since March 2020, we have had a basic volunteer crew of about 34 people,” director of Volunteer Services Connie Slingluff wrote in the group’s annual report. “(We’re) usually at 200 volunteers or more.” Volunteer numbers have since increased to nearly 60. “Volunteers are hesitant to return,” Slingluff wrote. “Some have moved to be near family, and some are vacationing after being isolated for so long. We are hoping for a return to a new normal, but the delta variant is now rampant, and volunteers are continuing to stay home and take care of themselves.”
Even with these challenges, the Auxiliary is making a donation of $100,000 to Blount Memorial Hospital, and will be able to assist with $26,000 in patient medication costs and three $1,000 scholarships to children of Blount Memorial employees in the next fiscal year.
Since 1947, the Blount Memorial Auxiliary has helped enhance, expand and extend the hospital's reach into our community. Auxiliary members donate their time to Blount Memorial Hospital, performing tasks such as providing extra services to patients, promoting community relations, and providing funds through vending machine sales, fundraising events and sales at the hospital gift shop. Every cent earned by the Auxiliary through sales and fundraising events is donated back to the hospital or its entities. Since its inception, the organization has accumulated well over 1 million volunteer hours, in addition to their monetary contributions, which enable the hospital to maintain, improve and advance medical care in Blount and surrounding counties in East Tennessee.
For more information about the Blount Memorial Auxiliary, visit the Blount Memorial volunteer services department located on the hospital’s service level, Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., or call 865-977-5609.