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Jewelry fund-raiser hampers Auxiliary's efforts

By Staff
To the Editor:
Atmore has been my home since 1974. I have grown to love this town and consider it my home for life. I am currently President of the Atmore Auxiliary at Atmore Community Hospital. You may know it as the Ladies Auxiliary, or a more common title of Pink Ladies. We have approximately 40 volunteers in our group and we all have grown to care about our job.
In the past, we have been able to raise funds by having bake sales and we are in charge of the Gift Shop inside the hospital, as is the case in most hospitals throughout the nation.
Occasionally, we have someone to make a donation in honor of a passed love one. Regardless of how we attain the money, it goes 100 percent back into our very own community hospital. As is the case with all Ladies Auxiliary groups, we are a non-profit group that gives freely of our valuable time to our community hospital and we ask for absolutely nothing in return.
We sponsor two $1000 scholarships in our community with a portion of what we take in through these various fund-raisers. One scholarship goes to a local high school senior that is going into the medical field and the second goes to an existing person within our community that works in the medical field that wants to further their education.
In the last year, we were presented with a unique fund-raising opportunity. A small company out of South Carolina helps auxiliary groups raise funds by selling costume jewelry at $5.00 each. This is inexpensive, cheap, costume jewelry that we have sold as a way of raising funds for our community hospital. In no way does this infringe on the sale of "real" jewelry in our community.
Earlier this year, we presented Atmore Community Hospital with a $17,000 check, due largely in part to the $5.00 jewelry fund-raisers we have held in the past year. With this money, we purchased two recliners for the chemotherapy patients to rest in during their treatments. In fact, each department head at our community hospital presented us, at our request, with a wish list of items that they will otherwise have to do without. This would not be possible with the jewelry fund-raisers.
The company that has helped us has been in business for 14 years. They help Bay Minette's hospital as well as all of the hospitals in Mobile, Alabama and Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, Florida.
They also help hold these fund-raisers in every state in this southeast region of our United States. Out of all these large hospitals and much larger cities, Atmore was third in fund-raising. This has been very good for our community hospital. It is for your community hospital!
I regretfully tell you that due to the relentless efforts of the Mayor's Office of the city of Atmore and the Revenue Officer, we will no longer be able to hold these fund-raisers. In fact, she has questioned the status of the Ladies Auxiliary.
The head of the company that we are using has conveyed to me that in 14 years in this business, and out of hundreds of fund-raisers held for auxiliary groups throughout the southeast, Atmore, Alabama is the first place he has ever been questioned by. I will not go into specifics, but will be happy to give the details in this matter. If you have an interest, please contact me.
These are the things that will forever haunt our city. We have a reputation as being a town that is unwelcoming. We have a reputation as an unyielding, hard work with town. We were offered the chance at a new post office, but with the argument over its location, we lost the opportunity.
With these type things consistently happening, we are rapidly losing opportunities! We have got to be more receptive to people that are interested in Atmore, Alabama and our community. We cannot continue to treat newcomers and current groups such as the Ladies Auxiliary with arrogant disdain.
I have logged over 2400 volunteer hours at Atmore Community Hospital. I have given countless amounts of extra time and money to make a difference, as have so many of our volunteers with the Auxiliary.
Because of this jewelry fund-raiser, I have been treated without common respect, as if I were a criminal, through this ordeal. Our community needs the Auxiliary, and the Auxiliary needs to be able to raise funds for your community hospital.
Please consider. Next week it may be you or your loved one sitting in the new recliners in the chemotherapy department at Atmore Community Hospital.
Annette Dawe
Atmore Community Hospital Auxiliary President