The members of the Adaline Coffman Guild for Seattle Children’s Hospital had big plans to celebrate their 80th birthday last year.
“Then the world blew up,” said member Kaci Jones with a laugh.
Those members are not going to let a global pandemic deter them. Instead, they said they’re throwing a big party for year 81 and it starts June 26 with a fun bike ride for a great cause.
Established in 1940 and named after its founder, the Adaline Coffman Guild’s mission has always been to raise money for uncompensated care of children from Lewis County at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Since its inception, the guild has raised nearly $500,000 for the cause. Jones explained that while the hospital may not be located in our area, it has a large impact on many local families. In 2019 alone, there were 700 children from Lewis County who received more than $1 million in uncompensated care at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
“It’s just pretty incredible how much the Seattle Children’s Hospital helps local kids,” Jones said.
Adaline Coffman is one of an estimated 500 guilds that make up the Seattle Children’s Guild Association. It is the largest all-volunteer fundraising network for a hospital in the nation. In 2020, Seattle Children’s guilds had 4,000 members statewide who gave a total of 40,000 volunteer hours and raised more than $16.7 million.
“It’s astounding how many people come together for this cause,” Jones said. “And it’s amazing how many lives have been affected by this and don’t know it.”
Once a who’s who of the wives of prominent Lewis County men, membership in the Adaline Coffman Guild was once passed down from mothers to daughters. Today, it is still a guild of women and they bring varied backgrounds and life experiences to the work. Guild Vice President Terry Wentworth joined the cause more than 20 years ago because she was inspired watching a good friend’s family struggle caring for a sick child.
“Definitely, having kids of my own, it’s a cause that’s near and dear to my heart,” Wentworth said.
The funds raised by Seattle Children’s Guild Association members are given to the hospital to help with medical bills. The assistance can also come in the form of gas or food cards given directly to the families to help reduce the cost of expenses related to traveling to Children’s to seek care for their kids.
“It is just a little bit of help but it can be expensive to travel to Children’s so every penny counts,” Wentworth said.
And guilds like Adaline Coffman truly make every penny count. Jones, a massage practitioner, said she first learned of the work of Adaline Coffman through volunteer work at Pope’s Kids Place. She said she was moved by the cause and even more encouraged to support it when she learned that as a volunteer-based organization, all donated money goes straight to the cause.
“I know for a fact, every dime we get we send up there and it makes such a difference,” Jones said. “We do all of it by ourselves. The community really pulls together to help do this and it's amazing to watch people come together from all walks of life for a common goal.”
The Adaline Coffman Guild usually holds two major fund-raisers each year, a gala and the Bikes to Brews event, which is in its third year. Last year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, both fundraisers for the guild were canceled. Wentworth explained that the guild members considered hosting an event online, but decided that too many people were already burned out on virtual events, so they decided to hold off until in-person gatherings were possible. Still, as a Seattle Children’s Guild Association member, the group has a minimum fundraising amount each year and they were able to meet that goal because of their many regular supporters.
“We have so many good community members who just continuously send us money,” Wentworth said.
Bikes to Brews on June 26 will be the official kickoff for the return of the guild’s live fundraising efforts. The event is a 9-mile bicycle loop starting and ending at the Tiki Tap House in downtown Centralia with stops including the Olympic Club, The Hub, The Limit and the Market Street Pub in Chehalis. At each stop, riders who are 21 or older can enjoy a drink while those who prefer not to drink can shop nearby.
“The local places we’re stopping at are so excited to have us,” Wentworth said.
The guild also plans to bring back its other major fundraiser of the year, its winter gala, on Dec. 3.
At that event, members plan to celebrate the guild’s 81st birthday, after plans for a big event marking their 80th year were scrapped last year. Jones said she still has all the original minutes from the guild and lists of the many women who have been involved. But she does have one wish as the group celebrates eight decades of service, and that is to hear from the families who have been helped by the guild’s work over the years.
“I want to know their stories,” Jones said.
Adaline Coffman Guild Bikes to Brews
When: Ride begins 10:30 a.m. June 26 at Tiki Tap House in Centralia
Cost: $40 per rider
Information or to register: adalinecoffman.org/events
For more information about the Adaline Coffman Guild, go to adalinecoffman.org or @adalinecoffmanguild on Facebook.