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GRAFTON - The White Cross Auxiliary’s annual “Girls on Grapes, Boys on Brew” event will be a fun afternoon for the community while raising funds for Alton Memorial Hospital.

From 12–3 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, 2024, at The Loading Dock, people can enjoy food and drinks from over 30 eateries in the Riverbend region. A silent auction and 50/50 raffle will also be available. Irene and Sarah Beth, volunteers with the White Cross Auxiliary, explained that their goal is to help AMH while bringing people together for a nice day on the river.

“It really is a fun event,” Sarah Beth said. “Everyone’s in a good mood. Everyone’s excited to be there. We have the people who have been coming for years and then we’re hoping to bring in new faces. And you have three hours of eating and drinking.”

Irene added that The Loading Dock usually has a band playing, so people can enjoy live music, local food and drinks throughout the open house-style event. Tickets cost $35 and all proceeds from ticket sales, the silent auction and the raffle will go to AMH.

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The White Cross Auxiliary is a group of volunteers who help out at AMH. They host “Girls on Grapes, Boys on Brew” every year to raise funds for different departments and equipment at the hospital. Last year, the event raised almost $25,000 and the auxiliary used the money to purchase ten Staxi wheelchairs. This year, their goal is to raise enough money to buy a portable anesthesia monitoring system.

While the event aims to help a great cause, it’s also a lot of fun for attendees, who can expect food and drinks from The Loading Dock, Bakers and Hale, Billy’s on Broadway, Grafton Winery, Duke’s Bakery, The Cookie Factory, Olive Oil Marketplace, Old Bakery Beer Company, Gentelin’s on Broadway, Grafton Fudge and Ice Cream, Heaterz and several other local restaurants.

Bidding for the silent auction will open a week before the event and take place entirely online. In addition to baseball and soccer tickets, restaurant gift cards, golfing packages and other items, you can also bid on experiences. For example, two ob/gyns at AMH will be cooking a meal for the winning bidder at The Cracker Factory. Another lucky winner will have the chance to swim at Sarah Beth’s house, and another will enjoy a bourbon and cigar party.

For volunteers like Sarah Beth and Irene, being able to support the hospital is the most important part of what they do. Both women have worked with the White Cross Auxiliary for years, and they are eager to host another successful “Girls on Grapes, Boys on Brew” event.

“I’ve been on the auxiliary for almost 40 years,” Irene said. “I think [the best part is] just supporting the hospital and helping people. I was in charge of the volunteers for 17 years as well, so just being around the people and helping them and helping them support the hospital.”

They thanked the event’s sponsors, who make “Girls on Grapes, Boys on Brew” possible every year, as well as the vendors who have supported them again and again. You can visit or click here to learn more about the event and purchase tickets ahead of time, or buy tickets the day of the event at The Boat Works at The Loading Dock. Visit the official White Cross Auxiliary Facebook page to learn about the organization’s work in the community to support Alton Memorial Hospital.

“We are thankful for the support from the community, from the vendors to the sponsors to the volunteers,” Sarah Beth added. “We are always looking for new members for the organization. If you have an interest in helping out at Alton Memorial Hospital, reach out.”

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