A Great British Tea Party comes to Hillsboro
Tuesday early evening saw a crowd of Hillsboro community members gather in the Veteran’s Memorial Park, to indulge in British cuisine, drinks, and fellowship. With a crowd of over 50 people attending, some of the community’s ladies dressed up in British like style, wearing sun dresses and beautiful hats.
The tea party, benefitting the St. Joseph’s Memorial Foundation, is aiding with construction of the new Gundersen St. Joseph’s Hospital and Clinics that continues to progress in leaps and bounds. The foundation is charged with raising funds for a capital campaign that has realized $1.831 Million of a 2-million-dollar goal.
“When we first started this process, we asked ourselves if could we raise one million,” said Dan Howard the hospital’s Director of Marketing & Public Relations, and Director of their Memorial Foundation.
Howard said that in their preliminary talks looking for feedback from the community, there were some members that felt they would struggle to reach a goal of 1 million dollars.
After the outpouring of support from the doctors, medical staff, the staff within St. Joseph’s, the Memorial Foundation members, and the board members, things looked good for reaching 1 million.
“By the time we finished with that, we were already at 1.4 million. So, we said well ok, 2 million needs to be the goal for us. I think it is doable; I think we’ll get there. I think it will maybe take a few more British tea parties,” he said with a chuckle.
Howard stressed that every dollar raised through the capital campaign, is money that can be set into the cost of the building to reduce the cost of borrowing. “Every dollar has an impact,” he said.
“We will make a lot more money in the fall in October when we have a big Halloween Bash, which is our next big, big party. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Vice-chair of the St. Joseph’s Memorial Fund Barb Potter.
Howard and Potter noted that after the Halloween event, will be the holiday cookie bake sale/cookie walk. “So many of our fundraisers circle around food. We figured if you serve food, people will come. It brings people together. From a healthcare view, we would say everything in moderation,” Howard said.
Howard acknowledged that Potter was the one who pushed the foundation to do a British Tea Party (It should be noted that Howard, although a new comer to the US from Britain, recently became a US citizen).
“We wanted to do it last year, but then the floods came in and there was no way we could do it. We went hard at it this year. It just came together. A lot of people learned a lot of recipes that they didn’t know before, a lot of words and terminology that they were not used to,” Howard said. He continued, “They learned a lot about the difference between grams and cups, the difference between jams and jellies. It was an educational experience for the foundation members taking part, as well as for the people coming here to assemble the food.”
Potter stated she thought it went very lovely, and noted that the US owes its past to a certain country over the pond, and admitted it was so it was nice to celebrate a British Tea Party.
“Everyone has said it really was lovely. Thank God for this gorgeous day. It is absolutely perfect out here. It was nice to see a number of food items people have never eaten and the teas, as well. We are glad that Dan visited us from across the pond and decided to stay. We enjoyed having a British Tea Party,” Potter shared.
In addition to the food, tea, and conversations, a raffle was held with items donated by Dave and Nancy Prechel.
With a lot of changes with the new Gundersen St. Joseph’s building, Howard said the event would have taken place on the lawn of the hospital, but they don’t quite have a lawn right now.
Once the construction is completed in the summer of 2020, Howard said they “will be in a better place next year logistically knowing where future events will be held.”
The foundation is grateful to the City of Hillsboro for making the process to hold the tea party at the park so easy, and hopes that this will help make people want to use this part of town more often and get out and enjoy the countryside.
With word of mouth, hopefully next year we will have more food and more tea,” said Howard.
If you are interested in donating to the foundation or help out, visit Gundersen St. Joseph’s Hospital and Clinics.