Tami Jo Nix/The Madera Tribune
Long-time friends Ila Schoettler, left, and Chris Nawrocki laughingly pretend to pole dancers at the Alegria Guild Day in the Country.
The women of Madera are a force to be reckoned with as demonstrated by recent fundraising efforts of the Alegria Guild of Valley Children’s Hospital.
Like its sister guilds the Madera branch is a non-profit charitable organization comprised of local women who continue to work tirelessly to raise money to support the work of the doctors, nurses and staff of Valley Children’s Hospital.
These Madera mothers and grandmothers recently hosted their 66th annual Day in the Country luncheon, artisan fair and bake sale with proceeds benefiting the hospital. Tickets to this fundraiser sold out in about three days this year, said event chair Mandy Shepard.
The event was held on the grounds of the Kashmir’s Vineyard estate, where some 25 vendors who donated a portion of their sales to the project set up shops.
A popular aspect of the event was the cash raffle that awarded $1,000 among three winners and created quite a buzz.
The fiesta-themed party served special margaritas, a luncheon of Mexican food from Wedgewood Weddings and a group of young folkloric dancers.
Dr. Trevor Davis served as keynote speaker at this year’s event. He regaled the assembly with stories of advanced technology employed by the hospital. Minimally invasive procedures allow doctors to perform arthroscopic surgery on the tiniest of patients. The technique results in quicker healing time and far less pain to the patients, said Trevor.
The most popular and profitable aspect of the event was the extensive bake sale comprised of member-prepared and donated baked goods, home canned jams, jellies and pickles.
The 26 premium sponsorship guests at $2,000 per table are granted a half-hour early bird shopping period before the general admission guests. The competition for the items is great, with teenage volunteers placing purchased goods in the shoppers’ vehicles.
Many of the members’ husbands and a group of local civic leaders served as VIP waiters and bartenders.
The 15 guilds of Valley Children’s Hospital comprise the largest financial support to the hospital. It depends on its guilds to fund many of its expansion projects.
Throughout the valley 15 guilds focus fundraising efforts for the hospital and have raised millions of dollars.
The idea for a designated children’s hospital is credited to five women who set about raising money in 1949. The original hospital in Fresno broke ground in 1951. In the 1990s a movement began to build a new state-of-the art facility in Madera County. On Aug. 31, 2004, a move to the new hospital began.
“More than 67 years ago, our Founding Mothers created the Guilds to rally the community to build “a hospital for children only,” according to the Valley Children’s Hospital web site. “Many Guild members have a personal story and chose the Guilds as a way to give back. Others have been moved by our mission and want to make a difference in the lives of children.”
As a tribute to its founders, Agnes Crockett, Gail Goodwin, Helen (Maupin) Ross, Carolyn Peck and Patty Randall, the roads surrounding Valley Children’s main campus in Madera bear their names.