A Bit of History
In 1911, a group of volunteers, then known as the Women's Auxiliary Board, began to endow St. Margaret Memorial Hospital (now UPMC St. Margaret) with its warm and personal character. Members of the Women's Auxiliary Board acted as the eyes and ears within the hospital's walls. They were capable, hardworking women who gave generously of their time for those less fortunate than themselves.
In addition to ensuring the well-being of the less fortunate, the Auxiliary turned its attention to the heart of the hospital, the Chapel, in the early 1950s. With the help of the Auxiliary, the Chapel was repainted and reopened in 1955 after a short-term closure, with a new altarpiece and a rebuilt 1200-pipe organ. From 1911 to today, the Auxiliary has supported St. Margaret Hospital and made it a uniquely hospitable place.
Now known as the Auxiliary of St. Margaret Foundation, its main focus is on helping underprivileged patients of the hospital's family health centers, located in deprived areas of Lawrenceville, Bloomfield-Garfield, and New Kensington, as well as continuing to maintain the hospital's Chapel.
Proceeds of the Auxiliary's ongoing fundraising events help provide much-needed items to health center patients, such as hosting a hat, glove, and scarf drive for children during the cold winter months; financial assistance to the FitWits program which is designed to educate children who are obese and their parents to ensure a healthy future; providing books for pediatric patients and their siblings to encourage the wonder of reading; and other areas and programs where there is an identified need.
For more than a century, the Chapel in St. Margaret Hospital has been maintained by the Auxiliary of St. Margaret Foundation. The Chapel is an integral part of the hospital, and many members of the hospital staff begin and end their day with prayer in the serenity of the Chapel's beautiful walls. It also offers an area of tranquility for patients, their families, volunteers, and many others who visit the hospital. Monthly non-denominational services, holiday services, and memorial services are routinely held in the Chapel.
In 2015, the Auxiliary of St. Margaret Foundation made an appeal for its newly created Chapel Fund. A letter was mailed to a small group of individuals considered to have deep roots to the Chapel, the Auxiliary, or the hospital, seeking financial support to ensure that the Chapel's vital place at the heart of the hospital continues for many years to come. An overwhelming response was received, and nearly $4,000 was donated to help support the Chapel with expenses such as an annual honorarium for the Chaplain; payment to the organist for monthly worship services; supplies, such as candles, seasonal altar flowers, prayer books and hymnals; and track rack publications. The Chapel Fund also provides monies for the maintenance and repair costs of the Chapel's organ.
In 2011, the Auxiliary donated $150,000 to jump-start the drive to build the Neil Y. Van Horn Pavilion at the hospital. The Pavilion was designed to provide a calm escape where one can relax, regroup, and access information. More recently, the Auxiliary donated $50,000 toward renovation costs of the Lawrenceville Family Health Center.
In 2020, the Auxiliary contributed $25,000 to the campaign to rebuild the New Kensington Family Health Center and $21,000 for a new sound system in the UPMC St. Margaret Chapel.