STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- It got its start in 1863, as a group of doctors' wives supporting a one-room infirmary for people who couldn't afford health care on Staten Island.
Now, the Staten Island University Hospital Auxiliary is the oldest continuous auxiliary in the country, and on Sunday, the organization will be celebrating its 150th anniversary.
The auxiliary formally came together on Nov. 20, 1863, as the Ladies Auxiliary of the S.R. Smith Infirmary.
"It started off as a society fundraiser," said auxiliary president Barbara Strype. The group raised money to keep the infirmary going, even going so far as securing the funds needed to buy a cow so they could provide milk for its patients, she said.
"We still support the hospital by our fundraising," Ms. Strype said.
Recent efforts include funding for free colonscopies, security measures for newborns in the hospital maternity area, and a bereavement wall for parents who have lost infants or children, she said.
The auxiliary founded the hospital's first charity ball, and at the 131st annual ball this past spring, its members pledged $350,000 over the next seven years for the Florina Rusi-Marke Comprehensive Breast Center.
"We cherish all the good we have been able to do together in the past, just as we partner in accomplishing our present goals," said SIUH President and CEO Anthony C. Ferreri in a prepared statement.
The auxiliary is slated to celebrate its anniversary Sunday night, from 6 to 10 p.m., at the Hilton Garden Inn's Above Rooftop in Bloomfield.