The 100 Mile District General Hospital’s Gift Shop hasn’t changed in 60 years.
It is still selling locally-made hand-knit blankets and toques. People pay in cash although they can also e-transfer these days. There’s not even a cash register. When Lynn Olsen, president of the 100 Mile District General Hospital Auxiliary, provides a receipt, it’s hand-written.
“We’re still sort of down to earth,” said Olsen, one of 13 volunteers who run the gift shop. “We’re small potatoes but we all get along.”
The auxiliary opened the gift shop in the 1960s in a small space just past the emergency desk. It’s jam-packed with handmade goods, donated toys, second-hand books and refreshments.
Everyone pitches in to help. If they aren’t working in the shop, they’re busy crocheting or quilting hats, blankets, baby clothes and placemats.
“Whatever someone can make that they think might be appealing they donate to our shop and we sell,” Olsen said. “Anything you can think of, we may have it and it’s made in the Cariboo. Everyone donates to their strengths.”
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Gift shop manager Lynn Landry makes unique quilted microwave “bowls” and travel bags.
“Everybody has their little talent so I do quilting, it’s my donation to the community. I donate the supplies, make the item and then sell it at the gift shop,” Landry said.
“When the donated items come in I price them, record them in a book and hang them up to keep the gift shop up to date. Come spring we’ll be putting away all our toques and bringing out more springy items.”
Last month they had $4,000 worth of inventory, according to gift shop manager Lynn Landry. They usually bring in about $600 a month, which is reinvested into the hospital. Their funds have gone towards smaller items under $5,000 such as stethoscopes and vital sign machines. The list of their donations is displayed on a series of plaques by the gift shop door.
They’re not just there to make money. Olsen loves meeting and chatting with staff, patients and visitors who drop by.
“Sometimes it’s quite quiet and you just sit and read a book. Somedays, especially around Christmas you’re filling out receipts, bagging items, exchanging money and making change the old-fashioned way so it’s quite busy,” Olsen said.
They women love the gift shop the way it is and have no plans to modernize it. They would like to brighten it up but they don’t need a cash register or debit machine.
The gift shop is open Mondays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
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