It’s 12:30 p.m. on a Friday and already a line is forming. A concert maybe? A renowned author?
Neither. This was the day of the Shuswap Lake Health Care Auxiliary’s annual Spring Garage Sale, which wouldn’t be opening for another half hour. It is no ordinary garage sale.
This year, treasures completely filled two storefront locations in the Mall at Piccadilly, along with a bake sale, book sale and silent auction in the concourse.
Co-ordinator Chris McKenzie and other hard-working volunteers of the hospital auxiliary began prepping for the event months earlier, with garage sale treasures being collected and stored in different spots.
Two of the many women who dedicate themselves to this important fundraiser for Shuswap Lake General Hospital are auxiliary vice-president Edie Swanson, who has been volunteering there since 1999, and Shuswap Lake Foundation representative Gloria Lynd, who has volunteered since 2007.
How many items were for sale?
“Gazillions,” says Lynd with a laugh. “Hundreds of items I would say.”
This is the auxiliary’s main fundraiser, which last year raised more than $6,000. This year’s sale, held March 29 and 30, raised more than $5,000, with a few tallies still to come.
The overall list of funds raised by the auxiliary and equipment purchased is impressive. From 2011 to 2018, this dedicated group, now totalling about 70, has raised $185,000 for equipment and comfort items for the hospital.
“We couldn’t believe it ourselves, but you put it in every year and it adds up in the end,” says Swanson.
Swanson notes that some of the auxiliary’s most senior members are in their late 80s or early 90s. More volunteers are wanted to help keep up the good work.
The volunteers also provide itemsfor Bastion Place, and they sponsor the youth health-care volunteers – formerly called Candy Stripers, and provide two scholarships for them.
Also receiving support from the auxiliary are B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver as well as JoeAnna’s House in Kelowna. Two Christmas hampers go to the SAFE Society.
Both Swanson and Lynd are greeters at the hospital, answering questionsin what can be nerve-wracking situations. The auxiliary also runs the gift store.
Other fundraisers include gift-wrapping at the mall at Piccadilly and an annual Christmas bake sale for hospital staff.
Why are the women so dedicated to the auxiliary? They both mention giving back, being appreciated and, last but not least, making friends.
Lynd volunteers with several groups but, as a former nurse, her favourite is the hospital auxiliary.
“Joining the auxiliary was a really good thing to do, I got to meet people, and be in the hospital environment.”
“All of my friends, I’ve made through volunteering. It’s a good feeling and we do get appreciated.”