SRMC volunteers issue challenge

By Ed Brock

Cynthia Jenkins and her volunteers at Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale have thrown down the gauntlet at the SRMC Foundation Board.

The volunteer auxiliary has raised $500,000 and they want the foundation to match those funds over the next three years. They decided to issue the challenge last summer, said SRMC Director of Volunteer Services Cynthia Jenkins.

"We were like, we can outdo you," Jenkins said.

It's a challenge that SRMC Foundation Executive Director Sabina Hutcheson is more than happy to take.

"Our board said yeah, right," Hutcheson said.

Of course, the challenge is really very friendly.

"The auxiliary has been very generous to the hospital for many, many years," Hutcheson said.

The $1 million raised by both groups will go to a new project at the hospital, the details of which have not yet been finalized.

"But it is a major project. The $1 million we're raising is only a portion of the cost," Hutcheson said.

Jenkins said volunteers raise money for the not-for-profit foundation through a variety of means. That includes the proceeds from the hospital's gift shop that they operate, the sale of photos of babies born at the hospital, book sales, jewelry sales, bake sales and more.

"Usually around every holiday we try to have a fundraiser," Jenkins said.

At its annual banquet this summer the auxiliary will present the foundation with its first $166,666 installment on the $500,000. As for the foundation's end of the challenge, members are gearing up for this weekend's Annual Crescent Ball on Saturday from 7 p.m. at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Atlanta.

"That's one of our major fund raisers," Hutcheson said.

Each year's ball has a theme and this year the theme is "Georgia on My Mind." Tickets are still available by calling (770) 991-8004. Jenkins said potential donors should not be intimidated by the $150 cost of the tickets.

"A lot of people think that's a lot of money but they can get some tax relief for much of that," Jenkins said.

In October the foundation will also hold its annual Crescent Classic Golf Tournament, and throughout the year they gather donations from private and corporate donations.

"And our hospital family (SRMC employees and staff) is wholeheartedly supporting the fund raising efforts," Hutcheson said.

The auxiliary has over 200 volunteers, including the "Volun-teens" group, formerly called "candy stripers."

This week being Volunteer Appreciation Week makes it a good time for new volunteers to sign up, Jenkins said.

"We always have a need for more volunteers," Jenkins said.

To sign up with the auxiliary, call (770) 991-8124.