Oak Brook Chapter, Infant Welfare Society of Chicago

By Marge Tresley, CO-President

This is an extraordinary time for the Oak Brook Chapter as it marks its 50th anniversary of financial and volunteer support for the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago. Members say it has been a rewarding and memorable journey. The year was 1973, and a group of dynamic and philanthropic women in Oak Brook decided to form a new Chapter of the IWS Auxiliary. Minnie Sandstedt, a Founding Member, speaks knowledgeably about the group’s remarkable history. “Not surprisingly, the Chapter’s fundraising looked very different 50 years ago versus today. Then, it was about bake sales, card parties and luncheons. But, as time passed, our fundraisers became more elaborate, we raised more money, and our expectations grew accordingly.” Today, the Oak Brook Chapter is synonymous with Mistletoe Medley, a fundraising juggernaut that began in 1984.

In its early days, it hosted about 150 guests and raised thousands of dollars. Now, it is often described as a “holiday tradition” in the Oak Brook area and beyond, attracting over 500 attendees annually. Last year, Mistletoe Medley raised $200,000 – a far cry from the Chapter’s first fundraising forays a half century ago. Importantly, what remains the same is the dedication and commitment of volunteers who care deeply about the patients served at the Angel Harvey Family Health Center. Like the Chapter, the Infant Welfare Society has evolved, adding services and programs to respond to its patients’ changing needs. Its broad spectrum of care includes: prenatal, well-child and sick care, pediatric and family dentistry, optometry, adult health, and family counseling. Several services, such as orthodontia and therapies for children experiencing developmental delays, are seldom seen in a community health clinic setting. IWS’s mission and message resonate with members and have inspired them throughout the decades. Of course, important anniversaries like this one call for BIG PLANS, and the Chapter has several in place for this milestone year. Mistletoe Medley 2022 is entitled “Hearts of Gold” in recognition of the group’s 50th anniversary.

The name also acknowledges the Chapter’s donors, sponsors, friends, and community supporters who open their hearts to those in need. The benefit will be held on November 29th at Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace. It has all the ingredients for a perfect day, including terrific Preferred and Special Raffle prizes, great shopping in our Holiday Boutique, a luncheon, and a runway fashion show that will dazzle guests. The Chapter is also delighted to partner with the Hinsdale Magazine Group and Oakbrook Center, that marks its 60th anniversary this year, on a “Giving Week” at Oakbrook Center from December 10 – 17 during which participating retailers will donate a percentage of their sales to Oak Brook Infant Welfare. Members say they are honored and proud to celebrate their 50th year of support for the Infant Welfare Society. Last, but certainly not least, the group is very appreciative of its IWS “family and friends” who have enabled the Oak Brook Chapter to make a difference in so many lives. ■

[You can help the Chapter provide vital healthcare services to children and families in need]. Donations accepted at: oakbrookchapterinfantwelfare.org