The annual auxiliary Holiday Home Tour is set for this Sunday, when four La Verne homeowners will open their doors and hearts to help those in need.
The Albrigo, Stahlman, Riggs and San Miguel families will continue the tradition of fundraising. The home tour began in 1952 as a way for the auxiliary to raise money to meet a $25,000 pledge members made to the hospital's board of directors.
The hospital was then building a four-story building to house a new pediatric unit, maternity services and other medical and surgical facilities. During the years, the hospital and maternity services have expanded.
That first home tour raised $1,825. The fundraiser proved popular, and since then the auxiliary has asked homeowners to help it help others. They have responded.
The 2011 tour raised more than $25,000 for the hospital's Sick Baby and Hospital Assistance Fund. Organizers are hoping to exceed that amount this year.
"Holiday Homes is the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Auxiliary's largest fundraising event. This fundraiser is our pinnacle event every year and is certainly the event that brings out the community.
"Whether the people attend to just see the spectacular homes decorated for the holidays, the Tea House, the holiday theme baskets, the craft and gourmet boutiques or the musical entertainment, Holiday Homes is the go-to event of the season," said Nancy Zunde, a longtime hospital volunteer and chairwoman of this year's program.
The Sick Baby and Hospital Assistance Fund helps families facing financial concerns because of their ill infants, many who spend long periods of time in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit. Tour proceeds also are used to buy items such as rocking chairs for mothers and their newborns and phototherapy lights used to help infants needing bilirubin treatments for jaundice.
The hospital also has begun a new program called Care-A-Van Service where it transports sick babies and their family members from throughout the Inland Valley and beyond to the hospital. The specially equipped service unit is costly but necessary, Zunde said.
This year's tour involves all historic homes - ranging in age from 93 to 101 years old - all within walking distance of each other in La Verne. All have been renovated and will be decorated for the holidays. One house is having its kitchen redone so tour participants will see a makeover in action. Zunde said guests will be given special tickets to come back to the house and see the room after it has been completed.
"The auxiliary is celebrating its 75th year this year. It's not quite as old as these houses, but close, so we can all sort of celebrate anniversaries," she said with a chuckle.
"But the homes are always beautifully done, and it helps bring the holiday spirit into focus. We in the auxiliary have a lot to celebrate this year and we invite the community to come out and celebrate with us while helping babies and families in need."
The tour will feature three Craftsman homes and one Arts and Crafts bungalow in downtown La Verne.
The 2012 Tea House will be at La Verne Community Center, 3680 D St. A proper English tea with finger sandwiches and cookies will be offered to guests. The holiday gift shop and the craft and gourmet boutiques also will be held at the center.
Tickets are available for $27 if paid in person at the hospital auxiliary office by Friday. Tickets will be available on Sunday for $30 per person. Musical entertainment includes Elaine Ford and Dave Huffman and students from Christian Academy Choir Beyond the Cross.
The Holiday Homes Tour will be from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call 909-865-9669.