About a year before Good Samaritan Hospital officially opened its doors in 1959, a group of women came together to form a group that would oversee volunteer services and community outreach. They called themselves Guilds of Good Samaritan Hospital.
Created in 1958, the women began meeting in their own homes to discuss ways to try to help the Daughters of Wisdom run the hospital and make the community aware of what services the hospital had to offer. The Guilds differed from traditional candy stripers--who were young, female volunteers-- because the Guilds also volunteered outside of the hospital, constantly holding fundraisers. Their first act was to open the , which continues to operate today on Main Street in Babylon.
Once the hospital opened, the Guilds helped by volunteering their time in any part of the hospital where assistance was needed. Examples of their work included working at hospital coffee and gift shops, or to help sew puppets for children in the pediatric unit. Other members helped out in the business office, the office of medical records, the x-ray department, the pharmacy and the laboratory.
The Guilds were easily identifiable thanks to their uniforms. They consisted of white, long sleeved shirts under a cherry-red pinafore with white stockings and shoes. Each woman was responsible for buying their own uniform which cost $3.60 in 1959. Today the women wear dark pink jackets over their regular clothes.
By 1964 the Guilds raised nearly $414,000 for the hospital. Part of that money paid for the auditorium and the Convent-Nurses' residence. The ways the Guilds raised money came from cake and candy sales, , dinners, dances, cocktail parties, music recitals, puppet shows and other events. Many of these fundraiser events began before the hospital opened.
Presently there are seven Guilds which still provide services: Amityville, Babylon, Copiague/Massapequa, Dix Hills/Deer Park, Great South Bay, Lindenhurst/North Babylon and Wyandanch.
As a group, the Guilds continue to hold many fundraiser events including a holiday gift wrapping booth at the Westfield Mall, raffle sales, fashion shows, dinners and holiday fairs. Separately, some groups sponsor card parties, bus trips, at home tea parties and flower sales. The women also come together for special member events such as the Valentine's Day brunch in February and their annual luncheon in April.
This week's trivia question: Good Samaritan was not the name initially chosen for the hospital. What was it originally named? The answer in next week's column.
The answer to last week's trivia question is: The man who led the fight to stop Robert Moses from building the causeway was Frank Gulden, Jr. His grandfather founded the Gulden's Mustard Company, Inc.