S. Joseph’s General Hospital Auxiliary Cottage Gift Shop is celebrating its 25th anniversary on June 16.
In 1987 the idea for a thrift shop was the inspiration of Ruth Gunning and other St. Joseph’s Auxiliary members. With a $250 donation from Kiwanis, the thrift shop was opened in the “old” (1938) hospital wing and operated out of there until it moved in 1995 to the present thrift shop.
It is housed in the St. Joseph’s Sisters cottage built in 1959. This was a retreat for the Sisters where they could have a little quiet time away from their busy lives in the hospital.
The Sisters originally used this site for their chicken coop, which housed about 200 chickens, supplying the hospital with fresh eggs and meat.
The auxiliary received permission to use the front bedroom portion of the cottage in 1995 and renovated it for use as a thrift shop. The remainder of the building was still used for various hospital meetings until further permission allowed the auxiliary to make use of the whole cottage.
As the thrift shop expanded a school portable was purchased by the auxiliary and moved onto the site in 2001. It is used for storing out-of-season items, for sorting and pricing and is the location of an annual Christmas sale held in November.
The thrift shop is staffed by St. Joseph’s General Hospital Auxiliary volunteers and all profits go to the hospital for equipment and patient comforts.
It takes about 50 dedicated, enthusiastic volunteers to keep the shop running smoothly and efficiently. A crew of volunteers receive, sort, clean, price and stock the donations that the thrift shop receives.
Other volunteers run the shop during opening hours and many volunteers put in countless hours researching donated items and their value or fixing and cleaning items to be put out for sale in the shop.
Donated items that cannot be accommodated are passed on to other organizations in the Comox Valley. Various areas of the hospital such as Emergency and The Views are also supplied with clothing and items they need for patients or to run some of their programs. The auxiliary also makes great use of the recycle facilities for paper, cardboard and metal.
Cottage Thrift Shop hours are Wednesday to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 to 1. Donation dropoff hours are Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 to noon and during opening hours. Look for a collectible sale Aug. 24 and 25 at the Comox Centre Mall and the Christmas sale Nov. 14 to 17.
The shop will be open June 16 from 10 to 3 with refreshments, entertainment, door prizes, a silent auction and great sale items. St. Joseph’s Cottage Thrift Shop is located behind the hospital off Rodello Street.
— St. Joseph’s Cottage Thrift Shop