Strong and exceptional women are often the unseen backbone on communities. This could not be truer for the Southern Ohio Medical Center Scioto Guild, which has donated more than $120,000 for SOMC since 1993 through annual flower sales. The group of 20 women aging from their 60s to their 90s is once again taking flower orders as a way to give back to those in need.
The Guild is a group of educated and dedicated women that have served in the school systems, battled cancer, raised families, and still found time to ensure that they are able to give back to their community.
Scioto Guild originally started as another group that had several fundraisers a year, including a variety show. It was so demanding, so they chose to start a new guild that was limited to only 20 women and help one large annual fundraiser rather than several throughout the year.
It turned out that they were nearly as busy with the new project as the old. The Scioto Guild started in 1973 women’s homes. All of the members agreed that they wanted to do something to help the hospital and started by selling red geraniums. At that time, they were meeting in homes and selling flowers out of member’s yards. Eventually, the project became far too large to continue in such limited space. Last year, flower orders filled the SOMC Friend’s Center.
“It’s gorgeous to see that first day,” Guild member Rosalee Greene stated. “Last year, the flowers filled two U-haul trucks front to back, floor to ceiling.”
Unloading the delivery is quite a task for the women, some of which have limited mobility and health concerns. The Guild relies on volunteers and students from Portsmouth High School to come help on delivery day.
Greene explained that the Guild has a strong commitment to helping cancer patients. Funds raised over the years through the annual flower sales have gone to help with various SOMC programs including $5,000 donated for the SOMC Hospice expansion; $43,000 to the SOMC Compassion Fund that assists patients with gas, food and other needs that are not covered with health insurance; $12,000 to install patient boards in SOMC patient rooms; $2,000 for the purchase of two laptops for SOMC Hospice; $5,400 for blood pressure kits; $10,000 to the SOMC Friends Community Center kitchen; $10,000 to the SOMC Adult Daycare; $10,000 to the Friends Center; $5,000 to the SOMC Cardiac Unit; $5,000 to SOMC baby security; $10,000 to SOMC Hospice; $550 for a refrigerator for the SOMC Friends Center; and annual Christmas gifts for any inpatient staying at the hospital on Christmas.
All of this has been made possible through the work of some amazing women who wanted a helpful way to spend their free time. Greene first got involved eight years ago after the death of her husband. She volunteered to help the Guild, thinking it would just be once and that she would just be helping to unload. Soon, she was fully committed to the work the Guild was doing.
“I needed something to do,” she stated. “I felt like I should give, and I had the time to do that.”
Since that time, Greene has dedicated much of her time to organizing the annual event and working on donation schedules. She explained that the Compassion Fund is a focus of the Guild because it helps so many people at difficult times in their lives. She added that SOMC Hospice does their own fundraiser to support the program each fall. By the time, the annual flower sale take place, that fund is usually in need of replenishing.
Scioto Guild flower sales are currently underway. The Guild offers hanging baskets, trays of plants and handing ferns. Order deadline is Friday, March 31; however, that deadline is somewhat flexible. The order will not likely be submitted to the greenhouse until Monday. Last minute orders can be placed over the phone through the weekend. Orders can be picked up Sat. May 7 and Sun., May 8 at the SOMC Friends Center, arriving in time for Mother’s Day. Payment is due with pickup. For more information, call (740) 353-7453 or (740) 574-6998. For volunteer opportunity, call Greene directly at (740) 352-5600.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1930.