Guilds Deliver Hope: “Whole Family” Services Fill Essential Needs
“These gifts symbolize that the wider community cares about our families. They feel loved knowing these items represent such a broad base of support. We’re grateful to guild members who make up an important part of this community!” – Heidi Greider, Seattle Children’s Spiritual Care Manager
After weeks of missing work to be at their sick child’s hospital bedside, parents receive critical funding to cover rent. A harried family arrives in the emergency room without their winter coats and is given new ones. A grieving mother receives unlimited counseling to navigate the loss of her baby girl. These are a few of the lesser known ways guild members enable Seattle Children’s to provide hope and care to families through a powerful network of services.
Last summer, more than 500 swimmers crossed Lake Washington in the Swim for Children’s Guild’s annual fundraiser for Seattle Children’s Emergency Patient Assistance Fund. This fund covers immediate needs when a family’s child is unexpectedly hospitalized and can be used for whatever is needed – hospital café meal vouchers, a tank of gas, a phone charger or a safe place to stay.
“The whole family is impacted when a child has a major health problem and this fund makes it easier for families to focus on their child’s healing,” says John Walton, treasurer of the guild, which has donated more than $300,000 to the emergency fund over the past 15 years. “Our event brings attention to this need and reminds people that there are many ways to help patients and families.”
Hand-in-hand through grief
Giselle and Grant Warner formed the Gabriel William Warner Gift Guild to honor their son, Gabriel, who died when he was 5 days old. Each summer, on Gabriel’s birthday, they host the Gabriel Golf Classic and Auction to raise funds for Seattle Children’s Journey Program, which helps families cope with loss and grieving after the death of a child.
“We give to Journey because we benefit from it every day, and we want to ensure that these valuable services are available to anyone who needs them,” says Giselle Warner, adding that she and her husband are shaping the guild to be a family legacy that will one day be run by their nieces and, eventually, their second son, Griffin, now 4.
“The fundraiser is a way for us to channel our energy towards a great cause and honor Gabriel’s memory,” she says. “Having Seattle Children’s Guild Association behind us gives our work so much credibility – we feel supported by this giant engine,” says Warner. The guild raised a record $10,000 at its fifth annual tournament last year.
The Guild Association also provides for “whole family” needs through its current Heartwarming Drive for Spiritual Care. To date, guild members have donated numerous spiritual and religious items, including candles, dreamcatchers, christening gowns and books, that will be used by Seattle Children’s chaplains to connect with patients and families.
“It can be helpful to have something tangible in hand when you are creating sacred space for families,” says Heidi Greider, Spiritual Care manager, whose team logged nearly 5,000 visits last year. “These gifts symbolize that the wider community cares about our families. They feel loved knowing these items represent such a broad base of support. We’re grateful to guild members who make up an important part of this community!”
Special thanks to guilds that support essential non-medical services to families:
- Color Me Happy Guild
- Gabriel Pigotti Memorial Guild
- Gabriel William Warner Gift Guild
- Gavin’s Gift Guild
- Hansje Brinker Guild
- Housing Solutions for Hope Guild
- Susannah White’s Three Feet of Sunshine Guild
- Swim for Seattle Children’s Guild