Some of the members of the Shuswap Lake Health Care Auxiliary who worked on its Annual Spring Garage Sale included, back row, left to right: Gloria Lynd, Linda Spencer, Chris McKenzie, Donna Good, Pat Kinshella, Janice Schaaffma and Lorraine Hume. Front row: Edie Swanson, Joyce Halliday, Gerry Bradwell and Barb Angrignon. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Dedicated volunteers raise close to $200,000 for hospital

Making friends best part of volunteering, Salmon Arm’s hospital auxiliary could use more help

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.

The intense preparations began on Monday when all the items were brought to the mall so the sorting, displaying and pricing could begin in earnest.

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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, including two terms as president, 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.”

It was essentially a general store, adds Swanson, with lamps, plants, tools, bedding, jewelry, and one 50-year-old baby carriage that didn’t sell.

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. They note they appreciate the mall providing them with free space.

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The overall list of funds raised by the auxiliary and equipment purchased is impressive, by all accounts. 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.

“You don’t think about it until you look at all the things we’ve done,” adds Lynd.

Swanson notes that some of the auxiliary’s most senior members are in their late 80s or early 90s and are in extended care facilities or can no longer drive at night. More volunteers are wanted to help keep up the good work.

If you’ve ever received comfort items at the hospital such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, or emergency clothing, that’s thanks to the auxiliary. The volunteers also provide items and equipment for Bastion Place, and they sponsor the youth health-care volunteers – formerly called Candy Stripers, and provide two scholarships for them.

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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 questions from patients, friends and family in what can be nerve-wracking situations. The auxiliary also runs the gift store at the hospital.

Other fundraisers include gift-wrapping by donation 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 such as One to One Literacy and Rotary, 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.”

Swanson agrees.

I have some very good friends; we have wine and appies once a month. All of my friends, I’ve made through volunteering. It’s a good feeling and we do get appreciated.”


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Gloria Lynd with the Shuswap Lake Health Care Auxiliary sits at the baked goods table, part of the Annual Spring Garage Sale held at the Mall at Piccadilly on March 29 and 30. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Edie Swanson, vice-president of the Shuswap Lake Health Care Auxiliary, prepares items for the silent auction, part of the Annual Spring Garage Sale held at the Mall at Piccadilly on March 29 and 30. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

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