Auxiliary completes another year of service at local treatment center

Throughout the year the Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center Auxiliary group, made up of local volunteers, gives its time to provide services and activities for the clients of the treatment center.

In December the annual holiday party was hosted by the auxiliary for the center’s clients.

In the last three years the volunteers have grown and the group was joined by carolers form the First Congregational Church and a keyboardist from Zion Lutheran Church. They led a sing-along of Christmas songs.

The auxiliary members served cake, cookie trays and other treats.

Each of the six units at the treatment center decorated gingerbread houses for a competition.

The auxiliary is a service organization devoted to those recovering from their mental illnesses during their treatment at the center.

There are currently 20 members of the auxiliary.

Twice weekly the auxiliary mans the general store where clients can make purchases from candy bars and snacks to socks and T-shirts. Hair care, sweaters, stuffed animals, notebooks and crossword puzzles are also available.

Twice a week the auxiliary also operates the snack bar, serving hot dogs, bagels, cookies, sweet rolls, muffins, juice and coffee.

“Our dedicated volunteers enjoy their volunteering service,” said President Karen Siewert. “They are attentive to our patients needs.”

Volunteer shoppers replenish items in the snack bar and general store weekly or as needed and two volunteers work as a team to operate those services. Proceeds keep the store supplied and also allows the auxiliary to purchase items for the units’ fitness center.

This marks the auxiliary’s 35th year.

“We are planning an early fall memorial service at the Anoka State Hospital Cemetery where 400 past residents were given the dignity of granite markers with their names and dates on them,” said Siewert.

Several years ago the state purchased the markers for the 400 people buried in the cemetery between 1900 and 1965. The auxiliary was involved in the planning and implementation of the project, including fund-raising for the gate, paver entryway and landscaping.

The auxiliary has received the Human Rights Commission service award from Anoka and was also recognized by KARE 11 as one of the “Eleven Who Care” in 2009.

The auxiliary also hosts a patriotic party in July as well as a fall party. The organization’s officers also include vice president Jean Enlow, secretary Leanne Patchen and treasurer Ruby Wilson.