The volunteers of the Mills Memorial Hospital Ladies Auxiliary sort the items donated to their thrift store and gift stores. Here are some of them: thrift store coordinator Bonnie Lefebvre

Volunteers take pride in helping others

It’s volunteer week and the Mills Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, is a friendly place to have fun and meet new people while helping others.

It’s volunteer week and for those with some time to spare who are looking to help out, the Mills Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, is a friendly place to have fun and meet new people while helping others.

The ladies who volunteer with the auxiliary operate the thrift shop on Lazelle Ave. and the gift shop at the hospital just inside the entrance.

There’s a variety of reasons for why they volunteer.

From having a heart attack and being alive because of the equipment at the hospital that the auxiliary helps to buy, to coming in for a visit and being asked to volunteer, to the enjoyment of it and having a day out to meet others their own age or even because “we seniors got nothing else to do,” they’re all glad to be there.

A couple of the ladies said from working in retail, they became accustomed to being with people and enjoy it. And you get to know everyone too.

They work the cash register, fold and organize the clothes and other donations and raise money to help buy equipment needed at the hospital, Terraceview Lodge and McConnell Place.

Without all the donations and community help, the auxiliary wouldn’t be able to do all that, the ladies say.

Garage sales are a big provider of their items as they often get the “leftovers” and are glad for them.

Items that they can’t use, such as things that are dirty or stuff they don’t have room for, is picked up by Bandstra for free and delivered to Prince George to be recycled.

Nothing goes to the dump.

Kitchen items are welcome, knick knacks and clothes and others but large items are often too big.

Televisions or other electronics aren’t accepted and neither is furniture as there’s no space to store it.

Any metal they receive goes to the Bold Salvage yard.

The annual craft and bake sale around Christmas is a big fundraiser and on Saturday Nov. 23 last year, the ladies saw their most profitable day ever with $1,033.70 coming in, the first time they’ve made more than $1,000.

The craft sale averages about $3,000.

The stores can take in an average of about $400 a day but it ranges from $200 to $800.

Overall last year, they raised an amazing $106,306 that went to hospital equipment and bursaries.

This year, they’ve committed to raising $80,000 and some of that will be in the form of eight bursaries for $1,000 each for students born and raised here and pursuing a health care field in post-secondary education.

At present, there’s 55 volunteers and more are needed.

And they’re looking for younger people, who can volunteer even for just an hour or two a day.

Come and see what volunteers do and how you like it, they say, and if you like it, it’s only $7 a year, which goes to the upkeep of the thrift store.

And you’ll be joining a long line of volunteers as the auxiliary has been around since 1948.

The store has been referred to as “the Terrace Boutique”  or as one lady put it, her granddaughter calls it “grandma’s store.”

Anyone interested in volunteering can come into the gift store or thrift store and pick up an application form.

The hospital and other facilities appreciate the auxiliary and all its efforts.

“Mills Memorial Hospital and Terraceview Lodge feel fortunate to have a very good relationship with the Hospital Auxiliary,” says Chris Simms, health services administrator Terrace, Stewart, Atlin.

“The Hospital Auxiliary works tirelessly in the community (ie, the Thrift Store) and within Mills Memorial Hospital (ie, the Hospital Gift Shop) and the efforts of their work result in very generous gifts back to the Hospital and Terraceview Lodge in the form of, for example, equipment used in patient care. “Last year alone, Mills Memorial and Terraceview received close to $100,000 in equipment purchases.

“On behalf of Northern Health staff, I would like to thank the Hospital Auxiliary for their countless volunteer hours that indirectly support patient care. They are a tremendous asset to our community.”