Margaret Zielonka, Revelstoke Hospital Auxiliary Society
Part of an ongoing series celebrating National Volunteer Week in Revelstoke.
Each spring the volunteers of the Revelstoke Hospital Auxiliary celebrate a customer appreciation day with free hot dogs, cake and juice and a half price day at the Thrift Store as a way of saying thank you to all their customers and donors.
The 84 members of the auxiliary have a proud history of service to the Queen Victoria Hospital going way back to 1901 when the first cottage hospital came into being. Since then our mandate has expanded to include not only the Queen Victoria Hospital and Mount Cartier Court, but health care in the whole community, supporting Community Connections Food Bank, highway rescue, the SAFER clinic and other health-related organizations.
The thrift store is our main fundraiser. Over the years, the thrift store business has grown to meet the demand of our customers. Not that long ago the thrift store was only open a couple of days a week, and over the years has changed location numerous times. Today, the society owns both land and building and is open six days a week. We are completely dependent on our volunteers. Despite the fact that it is challenging to juggle the busy schedule to cover operating hours, it is a rare event that the shop does not open due to lack of volunteers.
There are many different ways a new volunteer may choose to help out. There is a lot of work to be done before a donated item is put out for sale. Clothing books, dishes, electronics, toys all have to be sorted and checked to make sure they are in suitable condition for sale. Items need to be cleaned, priced and placed in the store before finally being sold. There is no set schedule and volunteers can come in at any time that suits their lifestyle.
New volunteers are always welcome. The criterion for becoming a member of the auxiliary includes a yearly membership fee of $10, a criminal record check and a reference letter from another member.
Many volunteers find a job in the store that they enjoy. It may be testing electronics or cleaning and repairing jewellery or working behind the counter serving our customers. However, one thing we will guarantee, it will be rewarding and it will be fun.