Benefit seeks to reunite St. Margaret’s hospital ‘alums’

Supporters of St. Mary’s Women and Children’s Center are calling on all alumni –those who were born at St. Margaret’s Hospital, that is – to participate in a fundraising event Feb. 6. to support St. Mary’s.
In a first-of-its-kind event, the “St. Margaret’s Hospital Ultimate Reunion” hopes to bring together people who were born at the former St. Margaret’s Hospital.
The event, which will include music and dancing, will be held at The Estate, at One Boylston Place, in Boston.
Like many nonprofits, St. Mary’s is struggling to meet costs in tough economic times as demand for services rises.
“We have been level-funded in most of our programs for many years, but all of the costs of doing business have gone up,” said Judy Beckler, president at St. Mary’s. “That is creating a greater and greater structural deficit every year.”
The center has a budget of nearly $7 million. Each year, the center tries to raise 25% to 30% of that – or $800,000 to $1.2 million – from private sources and foundations, she said.
“Non-profits always have to look at private dollars to support the work,” Beckler said.
The reunion event will also help to build awareness about the work of St. Mary’s, Beckler said.
Some still think of the site as a hospital. But the mission has changed.
The organization was founded as St. Mary’s Infant Asylum in 1874 when the Sisters of the Daughters of Charity established an orphanage after an abandoned infant was left on the steps of a local church.
By 1902, 1,000 unwed mothers and infants were living there, according to the organization’s website. From 1893 to 1993, St. Margaret’s Hospital for women shared the site with St. Mary’s. In 1993, the hospital closed and the current St. Mary’s center was established.
Today, St. Mary’s is a multi-service agency offering social and human services for women and children from low-income households. The center serves more than 500 people every year. And on any given day, some 150 people are being served through the center’s three residential programs and numerous education and training programs.
St. Mary’s serves some of the most vulnerable women and children in the area, Beckler said. “We are still responding to women and children, but in a different way,” she said. “And many of these families are turning their lives around every day. We do a lot of work around the educational, emotional and economic needs of these families to enable the women to support themselves.”
Tickets for the Ultimate Reunion are $25 for general admission and are available now. The event begins at 7 p.m. Participants may also become a sponsor and be invited to a special VIP reception before the event, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
For more information or to purchase tickets online, the event website is: http://ultimatereunion.info/ or call Jane Boulet at St. Mary’s at 617-436-8600 x. 491. There is also information about the event on the St. Mary’s site, http://smwcc.org.

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