Marci Ekland, Nanaimo Regional General Hospital site director, middle, discusses items that struck her fancy during the new Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store’s grand opening with Lois Ohlhausen, store manager, left, and volunteer Angela Watters. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary opens new thrift store

Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary raising funds for NRGH projects with new Northridge Plaza thrift store

People looking for bargains on previously enjoyed possessions can find them at Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary’s new thrift store.

The store has been operating since Nov. 5, but hosted its official grand opening Wednesday with cake, coffee and door prizes for dozens of shoppers who turned out for the event.

The new store, like its predecessor, is located in Northridge Plaza, but it a larger retail space next to Quality Foods and is about 30 per cent larger, allowing more space for merchandising and storing donations of clothing and household items from the community.

The store is staffed by volunteers and a larger enterprise requires more hands to operate it.

“We don’t have a shortage of volunteers, thank goodness,” said Phil Robling, Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary president. “A lot of people like to work here [because] it’s a fun place to volunteer and because they’re making a contribution to the hospital which is what we’re all about.”

Sales proceeds from Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary’s Thrift Store, the auxiliary’s gift shop in the hospital lobby plus proceeds from annual lotteries and other auxiliary functions raise the bulk of money the auxiliary presents annually to support Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. At the last Hospital Auxiliary annual general meeting, the organization presented a cheque for just shy of $474,000, raised by the auxiliary’s 250 volunteers.

An upgraded X-ray suite for the hospital is just one of the projects the hospital auxiliary thrift store is supporting.

“It’s going to be state-of-the-art, updating our X-ray suite with the state-of-the-art equipment as well as some of the infrastructure that has to happen,” said Marci Ekland, NRGH site director. “Another big thing that we hear about at the hospital, I’m going to say, on a daily basis is the fact that the auxiliary supports our wifi, so all of the wifi costs are actually picked up by the auxiliary, so when you look at patient comfort that is something patients really appreciate when they’re coming in.”

The store is open Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, visit the Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary website at www.nrghauxiliary.ca/.



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