Silver Cross advisory board celebrates 130 years of service and support

Board was founded on July 6, 1891, as the Board of Lady Managers

When Silver Cross was incorporated in 1891, the hospital’s board of trustees asked 15 women from the membership of the organization now known as the Will County Union of King’s Daughters and Sons to form a board to help the hospital with fundraising.

The name was originally called Board of Lady Managers and later changed to the Silver Cross Advisory Board. This advisory board is currently celebrating 130 years of serving Silver Cross.

In the early days, the advisory board held linen showers for the maternity and pediatric wards), sold trolley passes and held tag days, “the earliest of which helped raise $1,000 for the hospital’s new maternity ward,” according to a news release from Silver Cross Hospital.

By 1895, the board had raised $37,500 ($1.2 million in 2020 dollars), which helped Silver Cross Hospital open its 33-bed hospital on Walnut Street just off Route 6 on Thanksgiving Day, according to Silver Cross.

The hospital celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2020 and an in-depth look was featured in The Herald-News.

Through the years, the advisory board helped the hospital raise funds through cakewalks, card parties, concerts, horse shows and theater events to raise funds.

It also worked with the Silver Cross Nursing School, providing monthly teas and scholarships for the nursing students who lived at the hospital, the release said.

“The students, and the nurses, couldn’t be married, could not socialize much,” Donna Zanzola, a University of Illinois history major and former director of volunteer services for Silver Cross said in a news release. “So, the ladies would have regular teas for them.”

Zanzola also said that the advisory board held a four-day tag sale and raised $6,500 for a new maternity floor. The Encore Shop was originally “housed” in an actual house and moved to several other locations through the years. It now has a home on the current campus of Silver Cross.

In late 1961, the advisory board opened the volunteer-run Encore Shop, with some of those volunteers donating their time for more than 50 years, according to a 2014 Herald-News story.

In just over 30 years, volunteers at the Encore Shop raised $1.4 million “for patient beds and mattresses, robotic surgical equipment, emergency department stretchers, patient safety equipment, blanket warmer cabinets, a bariatric motorized wheelchair, glidescope, non-invasive ventilator and scholarships for numerous Silver Cross employees,” the release said.

Donations for the shop are always welcome. Drop donations off at the shop or in the collection bin on the south side of the Silver Cross Hospital.

A list of acceptable and unacceptable donations is posted at silvercross.org.

The Encore Shop is located at 710 Cedar Crossing, New Lenox, across from the entrance to the emergency department.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and the first Saturday of each month.

For more information, call 815-300-7642.