History  |  Services  |  Auxiliary Merit Scholarship

The Backus Auxiliary is a volunteer organization with a mission of supporting and fundraising for Backus Hospital.

The Auxiliary operates the Gift Shop and refreshment canteens, and provides many other services at the Hospital.

Auxiliary membership currently is 321 Regular and Life Members. Membership is on an active or inactive basis; there is no time commitment for those who join, but those who wish to volunteer in some capacity are always welcome – the Auxiliary is always seeking new members to bring ideas and energy to its committees.

Auxiliary membership is open to both men and women and is renewed yearly. Members are notified on a regular basis as to when their annual dues are payable Oct. 1.

Members receive a 10% discount on most items in the Gift Shop!

For more information about joining, please call the Auxiliary office at 860.889.8331, ext. 2259, and leave a message for the membership chairman with your name and phone number.


A Ladies’ Advisory Board, formed in 1896, was the forerunner of The William W. Backus Hospital Auxiliary.

These ladies made frequent, and unexpected, visits to the hospital to inspect every nook and cranny. They reported on more than one occasion that they “… found things to be neat and orderly.” The Ladies’ duties also included giving advice and counsel to personnel and students in the Nurses’ Training School.

Members of the initial Ladies Advisory Board read like a “Who’s Who” of Norwich Victorian-era industrialism: Mrs. William A. Slater, Mrs. Charles Hubbard, Mary Osgood, Mrs. Charles Gale, Mrs. James Case, Miss Louise Howe, and Mrs. Archibald Mitchell Jr. These families that played such important roles in the history of Norwich, also were key to establishing the solid foundation for the Hospital’s Auxiliary.

From the very inception of the Auxiliary members have provided unqualified assistance to Backus Hospital. In the Hospital’s early years. The Hospital’s Executive Committee reported in 1913 “… one of the greatest improvements of the year is the acquisition of a new automobile ambulance for which, as well as for many other favors, (we) feel a deep sense of gratitude to the Ladies Auxiliary Board.”

In 1923, the Auxiliary members undertook a community membership drive that brought in 1,251 members.

Renovation of the Isolation Building in 1926 and conversion of the original Nurses’ Home into a maternity unit were accomplished through the efforts and financial contributions of the Women’s Auxiliary.

The Hospital’s Junior Auxiliary was organized in 1933. The 125 teenage girls who enrolled were the forerunners of today’s enthusiastic Backus Junior Volunteer Program for High School young men and women.


The Backus Auxiliary is a volunteer organization with a mission of supporting and fundraising for Backus Hospital.

The Backus Auxiliary provides camisoles for post-operative breast surgery patients.

Curechiefs / Turbans / Comfort Pillows
The Auxiliary provides curechiefs and turbans, hand-sewn head dressings for those patients who have chemotherapy treatments. Additionally, the Auxiliary also supplies colorful comfort pillows to parents.

File of Life
File of Life packets are for individuals over 55, as well as for the disabled. They can be obtained at both our Backus Gift Shops. We received and filled requests from the Cardiac Rehab program here at Backus and from community organizations. We ask for a donation of one dollar per file to help offset the cost of materials.

Gift Shops
The Auxiliary Gift Shop at Backus continues to be a success, both as a fund-raiser for the Auxiliary and as a source of cards, candy, flowers and other merchandise for hospital visitors, patients and staff. A second Gift Shop is located at the Backus Outpatient Care Center (BOCC) on Salem Turnpike. The Gift Shop at the hospital is open seven days a week. Both shops are staffed primarily by volunteers and new volunteers are always needed. Anyone who might be interested should contact Candy Gioia, Shop Manager at 860.889.8331, ext. 2265.

Tray Favors
At each holiday throughout the year, the Tray Favors Committee provides hospitalized patients with a creative favor for their dining trays. Contributors to this program include Project Outreach at the Norwich Free Academy, RSVP Sprague Senior Smilers, St. Jude Commons, Rose City Senior Center, and Delta Kappa Gamma.

Vendor Sales
Throughout the year, the Auxiliary sponsors vendors who offer a variety of goods to employees and visitors at sales held on designated Fridays in the hospital’s conference rooms. Recent vendors have sold handbags and wallets, jewelry, wearing apparel, skin products, food items and art work. Proceeds help to fulfill the Auxiliary’s commitment to the hospital.

2019 Vendor Sales (PDF)

Auxiliary Merit Scholarship

The Auxiliary provides a minimum of two scholarships annually to high school graduates pursuing post-secondary study in a medical field. To be eligible for consideration of the merit awards, applicants must be current hospital employees, volunteers, or children, grandchildren, or legal charges of a hospital employee or volunteer.

Auxiliary Merit Scholarship Application

Auxiliary Membership