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Childerguild Celebrates 100th Anniversary

Joliet, IL (November 3, 2010)— This year Childerguild will celebrate 100 years of service to Silver Cross Hospital by raising funds to benefit the obstetrics and pediatrics departments at Silver Cross Hospital.

“We are thrilled to commemorate 100 years of service to Silver Cross Hospital,” said Childerguild President Holly Tomashek. “Childerguild members have been honored to work on projects that have benefited generations of women and children who have been patients at Silver Cross Hospital.”

PHOTO: Pictured are the 2010 Childerguild Ball Chairs Kim Brooks, Susan Frangella and Michele Vana,  who are planning this year’s event that will celebrate the Childerguild’s 100th Anniversary.  

Founded in 1910, by 13 benevolent women who had no children of their own, Childerguild was formed to benefit the obstetrics and pediatrics departments at Silver Cross Hospital. They called themselves Kinderfreund – friend of children. As World War I approached they changed their name to Childerguild. In the early years, Childerguild raised funds through private donations and by hosting card parties. The members took a hands-on approach to this organization by sewing layettes for the babies born at Silver Cross. During the war years, members knitted sweaters for the military and gave financial support to the American Red Cross, Navy League and the Salvation Army. As ardent supporters of the children in our community, Childerguild also made contributions to the Herald News free milk fund and the local community chest. Then in 1950 Childerguild opened the gift shop in Silver Cross Hospital and sold many handmade as well as donated items including clown dolls, home-grown plants and imprinted Christmas cards.

childballchairs 2010 4625Dottie Brown stated that she was “surprised and honored to be invited to join Childerguild” and was further surprised to learn, at her inaugural meeting, that her first job as a Childerguild member would be to clean the shelves in the gift shop.  “It turned out to be the most wonderful thing,” said Brown, Childerguild member for 59 years.  “I learned where everything was and it acquainted me with the shop.”

Committed to Mission

Today, the members of Childerguild remain committed to their mission of supporting and serving women and children as they celebrate 100 years of service to Silver Cross Hospital and 60 years of business within the hospital. Currently, Childerguild raises funds by hosting their annual ball and by operating the hospital’s gift shop. In the 100 years that Childerguild has been in existence, they have donated $2,312,622.80 to Silver Cross Hospital. $93,000 of that total represents the 2010 donation to the Birthing Center to be used to purchase two fetal monitors, reclining chairs for expectant fathers, rocking chairs, Bili-blankets, a bladder scanner and onsite mother/baby in-service training.


“In October, we gave the pediatric department crayons, coloring books, stuffed animals, a highchair and two mobiles,” said Tomashek. “Currently we are raising funds for our five year, $250,000 pledge for the Birthing Center at the Replacement Hospital. This year, we also hope to be able to give an additional $50,000 to the obstetrics department.”

The Childerguild Gift Shop is open Monday through Saturday and is located in the Smith Pavilion lobby at Silver Cross Hospital. The gift shop is managed, stocked and staffed by Childerguild members. Customers are offered many unique items in the Childerguild Gift Shop, which features distinctive gifts, jewelry, unique handbags, toys, candy, books, cards, balloons, magazines, logo items and boutique baby clothes.

Plans Underway for Annual Ball

Another way Childerguild raises funds is by hosting the annual Childerguild Ball, now held the Saturday before Thanksgiving. The Ball remains a major fund raising effort of Childerguild. This year Childerguild will host the 82nd Annual Childerguild Ball on Saturday, November 20 at the Odyssey Country Club in Tinley Park and will serve as the official celebration of Childerguild’s 100th birthday. The Childerguild Ball will begin with cocktails at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. and dancing. Tickets are $185 per person and include an open bar. Black-tie is optional. Childerguild’s proceeds from this year’s event will be used to benefit women’s and children’s programs and services at the Silver Cross Replacement Hospital.

“Balloons were traditionally used for decorations at the ball,” said long time Childerguild member Bev Weber. She laughed as she recalled “One year the ladies hung balloons from the electric, candle-shaped light fixtures and were afraid of being electrocuted.” She also remembers creating a huge cornucopia that hung over the orchestra and was constructed out of chicken wire and crepe paper.

The annual tradition of the Childerguild Ball keeps going strong thanks to the commitment of the members of Childerguild and to the many friends of the hospital who contribute to make this event a great success year after year. This year Michele Vana, Kim Brooks and Susan Frangella are chairing the Ball. Call the Silver Cross Foundation at (815) 740-7105 to make reservations.

To commemorate its centennial anniversary Childerguild will also have a weeklong celebration in the gift shop from Monday, November 15 through Saturday, November 20.  Area residents are invited to enjoy sinfully delicious brownies, a raffle for a 36-inch tall, musical, “Dance With Elmo” doll and a gift basket raffle.

The current Childerguild officers include: President Holly Tomashek (Joliet resident); First President Marcia Obman-Gray (Plainfield resident); Secretary Cathy Smith (Plainfield resident); Club Treasurer Donna Galligan (Joliet resident); Shop Treasurer Lynda McShane (Minooka resident); and Events Vice President Michele Vana (Mokena resident).

For more information about Childerguild, please call the Silver Cross Volunteer Services Department at (815) 740-7117.

About Silver Cross Hospital

Silver Cross Hospital is a not-for-profit health care provider serving Will County and southwest suburban communities since 1895. Silver Cross has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for the last six consecutive years and as one of America’s Most Customer Friendly Hospitals by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers. With over 2,500 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a 304-bed acute care hospital and ten satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices. Construction is underway to build a state-of-the-art replacement hospital opening in 2012 in New Lenox. To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).


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