FUNDRAISING EFFORT Volunteers with the Summerland Health Care Auxiliary raised $1 million over five years for the expansion tower at the Penticton Regional Hospital. In the back row from left are secretary Marilyn Combres, president Vivian Beattie and past president Gloria Flaman. In front from left are treasurer Berit Hack, first vice-president Rebecca Marquardt and second vice-president Wendy Thomas. (John Arendt/Summerland Review)

Summerland auxiliary raised $1M for hospital tower

Funds came from sales at Summerland Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Shop

The Summerland Health Care Auxiliary has raised $1 million for the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation’s equipment campaign for new tower at the Penticton Regional Hospital, making the organization the third highest contributor to the campaign.

The money was raised through sales at the auxiliary’s thrift store on Victoria Road North.

Five years ago, the auxiliary pledged to raise $1 million over five years for the auxiliary.

“We looked at what we had done over the last five years and decided we could do this,” said Wess Campbell, then the president of the auxiliary. “We have great support from this community.”

At the time, the auxiliary was taking in around $320,000 a year through the thrift store.

The store is open just 15 hours a week, from Tuesday to Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m.

Prices at the store are low and have not changed in many years, said Berit Hack, the auxiliary’s treasurer.

READ ALSO: Video: Virtual tour of the David E. Kampe tower

READ ALSO: Penticton hospital tower cost $312.5 million

However, the store is a busy place during its open hours and on Tuesday before the doors open at 1 p.m., there is often a long lineup on the sidewalk in front of the store.

“Because of the selection we have, this is a mini department store,” Hack said.

Rebecca Marquardt, first vice-president of the auxiliary, added that the store receives many unique donations from the community throughout the year.

“You don’t know what you’re going to find,” she said. “It’s like Aladdin’s cave every time.”

While many customers are from Summerland and the surrounding area, some will travel from elsewhere in the Okanagan and Similkameen to visit the store, said Vivian Beattie, president of the auxiliary.

The store has 150 volunteers who provide help in sorting, cleaning, pricing and selling the donated items the store receives.

The auxiliary was started in 1909 and has provided funding for health care since that time.

In addition, it supplies money to other community organizations.

Now that the $1 million fundraising goal for the hospital tower has been met, Beattie said the hospital has approached the auxiliary for financial assistance on another project. Details on this next fundraising initiative are not yet available.

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