The story of the Mary Free Bed Guild begins in 1891 when a small group of women wanted to help people who couldn’t afford health care. They passed a purse and asked anyone named Mary – or anyone who knew someone named Mary – to donate a dime. It was the most common name at the time, and the donations supported the first “Mary free bed” at a local hospital. As funds grew, the women began helping people with physical disabilities.
Today the Mary Free Bed Guild governs the most comprehensive rehabilitation hospital in Michigan. The 120 women of the Guild and Junior Guild also volunteer their time serving as greeters, patient liaisons, hospitality-cart providers and hostesses at monthly meals for patients and their families.
Most importantly, the Guild is the keeper of our nurturing culture of restoring hope and freedom through rehabilitation.