2004-07-30 / Columnists

On The Beach

Inside The PHC Ladies Auxiliary
With Beverly Baxter



BEVERLY BAXTER
BEVERLY BAXTER Over the past seven years, Peninsula Hospital Center has made great strides in its continuous mission to deliver the best possible health care to our community. Of course, in achieving these Herculean goals, the hospital relies upon a compilation of talents and varied expertise among its staff, dedicated benefactors and volunteers.

  The Ladies Auxiliary is a fundraising and public relations arm of the hospital. Under the leadership of co-Presidents Anne Levine and Sheila Schwartz, it, too, has expanded its reach and presence in our community.

Historically, the auxiliary was confined to a small sorority of affluent women from the west end and the five towns. However, as our population continues to swell, the membership has expanded and become more diversified. According to co-President Sheila Schwartz, “We now boast an enthusiastic and dedicated membership of those who reside in Breezy Point, Edgemere, Arverne, and Howard Beach. People recognize the importance of a solid and ever-advancing community hospital and they want to become involved.”

Sheila Schwartz has been an enthusiastic volunteer for more than forty years. She began rendering her time and talent while her husband Noel, whose international company required him to travel often to the Far East. With the demands of raising five small children, she became involved in everything from the Boys Scouts to the National Council of Jewish Women, of which she is a Board Member; her thirty years of dedication to the work of Hadassah, of which she served five years as President and twenty-five years as VP of Fundraising. She also volunteered “on the floor” at the hospital. With her involvement with and access to the so many communities within our community, she has been a dynamic asset to the work of the auxiliary.

For the many who may wonder, “what does the PHC Ladies Auxiliary do?”, Sheila is more than delighted to explain. “The Ladies Auxiliary helps to promote the hospital and raise money from various events like our monthly sales in the hospital lobby of new and gently used merchandise; our Fabric Of Our Lives Fashion Show where women modeled clothing that had meaning in their lives; fundraising trips to destinations like City Island and the Brooklyn Museum; and our Book Sales.

We are always thinking of creative ways to raise money and promote the work of the hospital...and we are always open to creative suggestions!” On August 17 the auxiliary will host a Book and Costume Jewelry Sale. “Peggy DeMateis was able to enlist in this endeavor the involvement of our local library and its generous donation of great books.” As for the costume jewelry, Sheila is

a savy curator of these much coveted baubles and she is constantly scouring through antique and thrift shops with an eye for rare items that could be auctioned at PHC’s annual gala.

Although Sheila and her husband Noel are Benefactors who have given tens of thousands of dollars over to help underwrite various projects of the hospital (most recently the modernization of the ER), she recognizes that there are perhaps many in the community who may be unable to give on that level, but who would like to give in some way.

She credits Jimmy Bulloch who had a terrific idea to expand the Benefactors Club. “Jimmy, who recently became a Benefactor, stated that he knew many great people among the Graybeards and others who would be more than willing to give; but due to costly tuitions and other financial priorities, they were unable to give the minimum $1500. Jimmy asked, “Why not expand the Benefactors Club to include those who wish to make a lesser donation.”

Sheila and Noel are also curators of many friends. “After living her for more than four decades I know practically everybody! and everybody has something to give. It’s not always about a dollar amount.

There are so many talented resources amongst us who can contribute to the PHC family. Steve Stathis of the GrayBeards and Tommy Ryan who taught us how to conduct a more successful raffle. Everybody has something to add.”

Noel Schwartz has been a “Godfather” of sorts to many of the young local guys who have sought his expertise and advise on a business level. According to Sheila, Noel will think nothing of sidling up on the beach to somebody whom he suspects could easily afford to make an endowment. “And he will convince them that it’s the right thing to do.”

Although he was selected by PHC to be honored by the United Hospital Fund at its recent Gala at the Waldorf, Noel humbly declined, deferring the honor instead to the well-deserving George Greco.

On behalf of the Ladies Auxiliary, their doors are open and you are warmly welcome. They meet on the first Tuesday of every month in the Meditation Room.

Take your lead from Sheila Schwartz and become involved with the PHC family.

***Happy August 1st Birthday wishes to John Murphy, John Joe, and Shannon McKeon! 

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