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The Return of Triple Swing
St. Bernards Advocates Recreate Annual Fundraiser During Challenges of Pandemic
by Audrey Poff, photo submitted

When St. Bernards Advocates’ annual Triple Swing fundraiser returns this month, organizers say the event will look a little different but its goal will remain the same – supporting a labor of love that the Olivetan Benedictine Sisters began more than 120 years ago.

Triple Swing Event Chairman Lesley Smith said many changes have been incorporated into this year’s event as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Triple Swing theme for 2021, Orchard House, truly began in 2019 as we planned for our 31st annual event,” said Smith. “Then came COVID. Like so many events, we tabled our plans until January of this year. We knew we wouldn’t be able to decorate a room and spend an evening in Orchard House, but we could incorporate thoughtful touches throughout the process of marketing, meal-planning and presentation. The drive-thru will show glimpses of greenery and fruit, the meals will be served in garden and orchard baskets, the mixes will be served in Mason jars and our menu has three fresh, farm-to-table courses.”

“All of us at St. Bernards, and certainly our great team of volunteers, were disappointed that 2020 Triple Swing was cancelled, but we also knew it was the best thing to do for the health and safety of the community,” said Kila Owens, president of St. Bernards Foundation.”We are incredibly grateful to Lesley Smith for staying on as Triple Swing Chair for another year. Throughout the planning of this year’s event, Lesley has been incredible – flexing plans when needed, coming up with creative ideas, managing any obstacles as they arise. All of us at the St. Bernards Foundation cannot thank her enough for the work she’s done over the last two years on Triple Swing.”

Organizers decided to focus on convenience and accessibility for the components of this year’s Triple Swing.

“There were so many unknowns in the beginning of this year as we began planning, we knew we had to make it easy for those with health concerns and risks to participate,” said Smith. “We knew our events had to be ‘to-go’ to alleviate those concerns.”

Instead of the traditional dinner and dance, this year’s Triple Swing will begin with a dinner dash on June 25.

“Because we could not be together in person, we wanted to offer something truly special,” said Smith “We immediately thought of our friends at Roots. Chefs Paula and Karl Lowe created a signature meal and mixers that are fresh, fun and perfectly suited to our orchard theme.”  

Participants who purchased a meal by May 31 will drive through and pick up a meal basket on June 25. Once home, they can go to the Triple Swing website for virtual instructions with the chefs for heating and plating the meal and mixing cocktails.  

Another change to this year’s Triple Swing event will be the addition of “Feed the Frontline,” a large-scale effort to feed the hospital’s essential workers. Sponsors and advocates will provide 2,500 meals to feed the entire staff of St. Bernards Medical Center in gratitude for their unstoppable spirit and for the long hours rendered during the pandemic.

“Amidst the challenges of COVID-19, we have witnessed the daily efforts of physicians, nurses and techs who treat the sick, and those employees, contractors, administrators and volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes – all laboring with love to uphold our mission to provide Christ-like healing,” said Smith.

“When planning for this year’s event began, we knew we had to acknowledge their work in some way,” she explained. “We started with the thought to offer frontline meal purchases to our dinner participants – kind of a buy one, send one. That thought grew and grew, and now here we are preparing to feed all 2,500 employees of St. Bernards Medical Center. I’m grateful for the chance to care for those who have cared for us.”

Smith says it is the generosity of the sponsors funding the endeavor, along with volunteers who will be grilling, serving and cleaning with each shift, that will make feeding the frontline possible.

Unlike previous years, St. Bernards Advocates will not be able to host its classic golf tournament this year amidst concerns over the pandemic.

“While we are not able to plan and host our traditional tournament, we will still sell golf and go passes for teams of six players to play at their convenience,” said Smith. “The passes may be used during June 25 to September 30 to compete in our virtual tournament at RidgePointe Country Club. We hope that by offering additional players and a longer tournament window, we can account for the same success as in years past.”

Even though this is the 31st year for Triple Swing, Owens said this year’s event is all-new.

“We had to start from scratch – new sponsorship levels, new sponsorship opportunities, new challenges, all while in the midst of a global pandemic that made plans ever-changing. Lesley Smith and Dana Housley, the director of volunteer services at St. Bernards, were calm and collected through it all, handling each challenge as a new opportunity to better serve the patients and families who receive treatment at St. Bernards.”

This year’s Triple Swing will also feature an online Auction House and Event Shop, where anyone can purchase chances at winning more than 35 incredible items, including jewelry, live shows, coffee for a year, art and more. Proceeds from the event will provide support for the St. Bernards Birthcare Center, pediatrics program and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, including patient/family support programs and innovative equipment purchases.

For more information on this year’s Triple Swing, visit stbtripleswing.com.