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Fundraiser a sweet treat for Mon Valley Hospital

| Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013, 6:08 p.m.
Ready to pitch in at the Mon Valley Hospital Ice Cream Social are (from left) Jean Haddad, Auxiliary Ways and Means committee vice chairwoman; Phoebe Seiverling, MVH executive chef; Lillian Nard, Auxiliary Ways and Means Committee chairwoman; and Candice Douglas, MVH food service director.

The annual ice cream social at Monongahela Valley Hospital offers more than sweet treats for the public. The upcoming fundraiser also helps to support the hospital.

“The more we can make, the more we can donate to the hospital,” said Ruth Antonelli, president of the Auxiliary of Mon-Vale Health Resources, Inc. “It all goes for a good cause.”

The all-volunteer Auxiliary, the hospital's fundraising group, will host the luncheon on Aug. 23 at the hospital.

All year, Auxiliary members raise money by hosting festivals along with selling candy, food and clothing, Monongahela Valley Hospital's President and CEO Louis J. Panza Jr. said in a statement. Those efforts have racked up millions.

“During the past 35 years,” he said, “the Auxiliary has raised more than $3.2 million to enhance the hospital's facilities and services.”

A $2 sundae bar is the ice cream social's main attraction. It boasts vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, nuts, caramel, strawberries, Reese's pieces and whipped cream.

Lunch items, including hoagies, salad and pasta salad, are available for purchase.

“For $6, you could get a meal,” Antonelli said.

The ice cream social, beloved by hospital staff, also includes giveaways and a “half the take” raffle, she said.

“We feel (that) for the summertime, it's a nice way of raising money for the hospital,” said Lillian Nard, chairwoman of the Auxiliary Ways and Means Committee.

The 84 active members of the Auxiliary host fundraisers throughout the year, including a fall festival, a strawberry festival and luncheons.

“The Auxiliary's main objective is to do fundraisers, and at the end of every fiscal year ... we present the funds that we have raised to the hospital to (make improvements) for patients or visitors,” Antonelli said.

Fundraising by Mon-Vale Health Resources helps to fund “new equipment for patient care,” Antonelli said.

Auxiliary funds have helped to buy wheelchairs and a walkway to the hospital — “whatever they need,” Nard said.

In addition to their financial savvy, the group also works at the hospital's registration desk and the gift shop. Members visit hospital rooms to check if anybody needs snacks, newspapers or magazines.

Group members visit patients to check if they're satisfied with their care, and they spend time talking with cancer patients.

“It's very rewarding. It not only helps the patients and the visitors, it's always very rewarding for the volunteers themselves because we feel like we are doing something to help the community and the hospital,” Antonelli said. “Our No. 1 objective is to make things better for the patients and the visitors.”

The work of Auxiliary members is “integral,” Panza said in a statement.

“These dedicated volunteers give of their time to our hospital because they care about our patients and are willing to do whatever it takes to make the experiences of our patients and their families positive and comfortable,” he said.

Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or