In March of 2020, for the 73rd time since their formation in 1947, members of the La Providencia Guild of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, or CHLA, gathered at Lakeside Golf Club for the annual installation of the president and officers.
Presented by the event’s chairwoman, Sue Ann Gordon, guild members received status reports from committee chairs, honored the service of outgoing President Sue Meckley and witnessed the swearing-in of Nancy Wiggins as the organization’s new presiding officer.
As that day of traditions played out, little could the guild members have known that due to the COVID-19 pandemic it would be the last time they would physically meet for a long time to come.
While guild members have not been able to conduct their meetings or special fundraising events in-person since last March, they still had a financial commitment that had been made to CHLA. And so there was work to be done, which they did – virtually – which is also how they did their 74th installation earlier this month.
Along with installing Judy Pierce for her second term as the guild’s president, the oath of office was also administered to 2021-22 officers Jill Kessler, who will serve as first vice-president, Sue Meckley as second VP and Glenda Jones as third VP.
Others who were sworn to service included Teresa Garcia as secretary and Teresa Garcia as treasurer, along with appointed officers Cynthia Faust, who will handle publicity, Katherine Richards, who will serve as the parliamentarian, and Vicki Margolin, who has taken on the role of the guild’s auditor.
Although Pierce acknowledged that she is taking the reins of the guild during a challenging time, she said she is doing so with pride over how the organization overcame obstacles during the past 12 months, and optimism for what the remainder of 2021 will bring.
“Our thrift shop brings in the lion’s share of the money we raise on an annual basis,” said Pierce. “We had to close the shop on March 13 of 2020 and weren’t able to reopen until late May.”
Explaining that it was challenging to staff the shop with guild volunteers who were concerned for their health, Pierce praised the shop’s co-chairs, Meckley and Diana Irell, for doing all they could to accept donated items, organize and price items, and keep the shelves and racks stocked, all while adhering to safety protocols.
“We also went virtual with the thrift shop and presented an online program every other Friday evening that we called ‘Diva Designs’ that was co-hosted by Jackie Latronica and Max Andrews,” Pierce explained. “We used that show to offer some of our higher-priced items of clothing and jewelry and it proved to be very successful in that we could reach buyers from all over the country. We had people from New York, Seattle and Florida who purchased items, so that became a vital part of our fundraising effort and we will definitely be continuing that. In fact, we will be resuming the ‘Diva Designs’ show at the end of this month.”
While the pandemic interrupted the guild’s traditional fundraisers, they did put on their Christmas in July sale at the thrift shop in October, had a virtual spring social in which members vied for raffled gift baskets, and a fall event that was presented with a women’s suffrage theme.
“We are hopeful for what the remainder of 2021 will bring,” said Pierce. “Our spring social, that will have a ‘Rosie the Riveter’ theme, will again be virtual, but we’re hoping that we can do a live gathering for our summer meeting. That event is open to the public and we do a fashion show that features clothing from the thrift shop that are modeled by guild members. Then our fall event is our really big one. We have traditionally done a professional fashion show, but we are rethinking that. Those shows are very expensive to produce so we’re reevaluating things and creatively looking into new ideas we may not have thought of had we not gone through this pandemic.”
Pierce, whose presidential motto is “Share happily and reap endlessly,” said that in spite of all their challenges, 2020 saw the guild make good on their last special project and they are now turning their focus on fundraising for a new one: the Associates Endowed Chair for the Chief of the Children’s Orthopedic Center and the Associates Endowment for Liver and Intestinal Research.
“We’re coming off a rough year but our members showed their support and played a big role in seeing to it that we reached our goals,” said Pierce. “I can’t praise them enough for what they have done and continue to do.”
For more information about guild membership, the thrift shop (located at 3301 W. Burbank Blvd.), providing financial support or upcoming fundraising events, visit laprov.org or call (818) 845-6606.
David Laurell may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or (818) 563-1007.