Founded in September 1958, the Guild’s main objective is to organize volunteers to conduct fundraising activities to assist and support the Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic. Various fundraising events have been conducted by Guild volunteers, including theater parties, fashion shows, luncheons, as well as a door-to-door campaign known as “Operation Doorstep”. In March 1963, thanks to the efforts of Charlotte Ramirez and her committee, a tea room, known as “Guild House”, was opened at 829 Chester Avenue.
By 1966 Guild House was in desperate need of larger quarters. Guild member Millie Sudarsky and her husband Jerry purchased the Barlow House at 1905 18th Street with the understanding that the Guild would lease the house for their tea room and pay for upkeep and maintenance.
The house was built in 1909 and occupied by Charles Barlow, a prominent geologist, and his family. The two-story home still has the original woodwork and mahogany mantelpiece as well as the beveled windows and glass made especially for the house by Gumps of San Francisco. The downstairs dining room has a signed Tiffany carnival glass chandelier and wall sconces. The large basement serves as the Guild’s office as well as storage space. The extensive use of hardwood throughout the upper and lower levels gives the interior of the home the warmth and character so often found in the stately homes of that time.
In 1975, Jerry and Millie Sudarsky sold the Barlow House to the Guild for the exact price they paid for it nine years earlier ($35,000). From September through June, Guild volunteers serve lunches Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The three course lunches include fresh baked rolls or muffins, specialty soup, a delicious entrée and a marvelous dessert. The servers proudly inform the patrons that “all food prepared for a good cause contains no calories!”
Currently, the Guild has 150 active members who volunteer their time to cook, serve customers, or wash dishes. Guild members also do all the decorating, manage the books, prepare the menus, research new recipes, and recruit new members. On Thursdays, Guild House presents fashion shows in which volunteers model clothing provided by local boutiques.
Committed to raising at least $40,000.00 a year for the Clinic, the Guild often exceeds this amount. To date, the Guild has raised more than $1.7 million dollars for the Clinic. This achievement demonstrates what caring people in the community can do.