Decorated for the occasion of the Dr. Penrose Orthopedic Guild “Ladies Day Out” in November, the Longbranch Improvement Club wore a festive air. Handmade gift and decorative items were displayed for both silent and live auction. Many women work on their donated items all year round, and several area nonmembers contribute to the auction each year.
The annual luncheon plus auction is this Guild’s major fund-raising for Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma.
In 1958, Mrs. George Franklin, Jr. of Longbranch gathered about 30 women for a tea to organize a local guild under the auspices of Tacoma Orthopedic Association and the Mary Bridge Hospital Board. Twenty-one charter members chose their name to honor the late Dr. Stephen Penrose, who had a summer home at what is now Penrose State Park. President of Whitman College in Walla Walla from 1884 to 1934, Dr. Penrose was a prominent church and educational leader in the Northwest and a firm believer in outdoor recreation for children.
The first fund-raiser for the group was a Halloween Card Party in 1958, which eventually was replaced with a luncheon and style show held annually for awhile. A Spring Smorgasbord Dinner was given for 20 years, and the luncheon and auction has been held since 1987.
All funds raised by the group go to the hospital. Besides the recent event, members volunteer to sell Christmas wreaths and to assist at the TOA Festival of Trees. The local guild provides the majority of handmade items for the gift shop at the festival.
Last year the Penrose Guild contributed $8,100 to Mary Bridge plus $1,900 from the craft items sold at the Festival of Trees.
Each guild is an independent organization under the basic guidelines of TOA, which began in 1921 by women concerned over the health of children. TOA has about 1,200 members in 52 guilds around Southwest Washington, which raise millions of dollars each year for Mary Bridge.
The Dr. Penrose Guild has 20 active and 20 associate members. Associate members pay dues, but do not usually attend meetings. Norma Iverson, president, notes that the guild is a working group, and new members are invited by current active members.
Husbands of members help set up and take down for the luncheon/auction and other activities, and are invited to occasional special functions.
Over 90 women enjoyed the lunch and bid on auction items last month. It was a success, said treasurer Joy Rakes, netting about $4,100.
These local ladies enjoyed their “Day Out” and Dr. Penrose Guild members are pleased that their loving volunteer work can help children who need attention at Mary Bridge Hospital.