Buckley’s Ida Marge Guild raised more than $6,800 for Tacoma’s Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital during their holiday bazaar Friday, shattering records for their seasonal fundraiser.
The bazaar, brought back after it was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus, was visited by shoppers looking for donated Christmas decorations, toys, food and other seasonal curios. Dozens of volunteers worked together to put on the one-day market and raffle.
The Ida Marge Guild of Buckley, formed more than 60 years ago, raises money through that fundraiser each November to support Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. They also hold a Country Store bazaar in May and an annual Coins and Cans recycling project. About 40 guilds throughout Western Washington raise funds for the hospital through bazaars and other fundraisers.
The Buckley fundraiser usually brings in around $4,000 or $5,000, Ida Marge Guild secretary LuAnne Hedges said, and this year is “by far” their most successful bazaar ever, she said. The raffle alone brought in more than $3,100, and the bazaar sold more than $3,700 worth of goods.
“People were just happy, I guess, to get out and do something,” Hedges said. “It was outstanding.”
The fundraisers are important, Hedges said, because Mary Bridge offers care to children regardless of their ability to afford it.
“In order for Mary Bridge … to continue to do that, they need guilds to bring money in to the hospital,” she said.
Each guild gets a say in what their money actually goes toward, Hedges said. They typically donate to support child transport, the oncology department, and whatever other departments have the greatest needs.
“It’s just amazing, and it’s inspired us even more,” Hedges said. “And we’re pretty inspired anyway. … Now all the people in our guild kind of know where (the money is going.)”
Items are donated or made by guild members and their friends, and the money raised from selling them goes directly to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. Across both bazaars, the guild raises around $10,000 or so each year, Hedges said, around half of that money coming from the raffle.
Buckley’s guild started as a branch of the Tacoma Orthopedic Association, a group of guilds in the early 20th century who helped take kids to Seattle Children’s Hospital.
TOA members established Mary Bridge in 1955, and recently renamed themselves the Mary Bridge Brigade. With a more easily accessible hospital now available, the guilds shifted gears to focus on fundraising and supporting the new Tacoma hospital.
The Ida Marge Guild – part of the Mary Bridge Brigade – includes around 45 members from across Buckley, Enumclaw, Bonney Lake and other local areas, Hedges said.
The Ida Marge Guild was chartered in 1956 and named after Ida Marge Larson Rooney. After her husband died, Rooney, who was born in South Prairie in 1916, moved back to the area in 1948 with her three children, settling in Buckley and working as a school teacher. She died in 1955, leaving her children in the care of her sister and brother-in-law, Elvera and Frank Honsowetz. Charter members of Ida Marge, one of whom was Elvera Honsowetz, named the guild after Ida because they felt her life characterized courage, dedication and concern for children.
“I’ve never been to a women’s group that is this special,” Hedges said. “It’s just a fun, fun group of ladies who really care about Mary Bridge.”
Those interested in joining the guild can contact Hedges at 360-897-8039.