Members of the Olympia Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary are celebrating the group’s 50th anniversary by doing what they do best: Helping people in need.
Over the years, the auxiliary has channeled its energy toward bake sales and clothes shopping sprees for Olympia area children, as well as summer camp scholarships and an annual Giving Tree that provides Christmas gifts for families.
“I think of us as a beacon. We’ve always been there,” said membership chairwoman Julie Pietz, who called attention to one of the auxiliary’s more visible activities: “We also do bell-ringing in the worst of weather.”
However, most of the auxiliary’s efforts benefit the Salvation Army of Olympia’s shelter at Fifth Avenue and Plum Street. The group has bought the shelter a power generator, bedding, blankets, towels, socks and food. Other contributions to the shelter have included lighting and security cameras.
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The auxiliary’s biggest annual fundraiser is its Silver Tea Celebration, which combines a fashion show, silent auction, “high tea” and gourmet goodies into an elegant event that can generate more than $6,000.
This year’s Silver Tea Celebration is themed “Then and Now” and runs 2-4 p.m. May 13 — the day before Mother’s Day — at the Salvation Army Corps Community Center, 1505 Fourth Ave. E. The event will include live renditions of classic songs by Sinatra-inspired crooner Chris Anderson. The fashion show will feature vintage clothing from Olympia stores, including Chico’s, Masques & Pettycote, Lily’s What to Where Boutique and Hot Toddy.
“At the end of it, women walk away with a rose,” Pietz said. “We really try to make it special for women.”
Other events supplement the auxiliary’s efforts, such as a recent bunco party that brought in $400 during an afternoon of food, prizes and dice. The auxiliary also benefits from local fundraisers, such as the annual motorcycle-centric Olympia Toy Run, which has collected about $2 million in toys and money since 1977.
The auxiliary is always looking for members to join its 23 active members in their charitable efforts. Judy Berg, who is in charge of publicity and fundraising, said fellow members know better than anyone how to stretch a dollar.
“We do a lot with what we do raise,” Berg said.
Silver Tea Celebration
For tickets to the Olympia Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary’s annual Silver Tea Celebration on May 13, or to inquire about joining the auxiliary, contact Julie Pietz at 360-489-1911 or the Salvation Army office at 360-352-8596, Ext. 111. Donations for silent auction items for the celebration can be made to Denise Nelson at 360-264-2396.
The event is a belated 50th anniversary celebration because the auxiliary was formed in 1966.