Help wanted:

VDMC Auxiliary looks for gift shop volunteers

— Daily Freeman-Journal photo by Anne Blankenship Karen Senters arranges a display stuffed animals and baby gifts at the Van Diest Medical Center gift shop. Operated by the VDMC Auxiliary, the shop is looking for more volunteers to staff the store.

Just beyond the main entrance of Van Diest Medical Center, past the information desk, is a small shop stocked with many unique and eclectic gift items.

The gift shop, operated by the VDMC Auxiliary, offers patients, staff and the general public a wide variety of gift items, cards, comfort items and collectibles. The shop is a regular stop for many who work in the facility as well as those looking to find something special for inpatient friends and loved ones.

The shop offers some items that are not readily available in the area. Senters points to the Willow Tree collectibles and a line of Rada cutlery and kitchen utensils. The gift shop also has a large selection of baby gift items, including stuffed animals. Jewelry, purses and scarves are other popular items.

“People sometimes forget we’re here,” she said. “But it’s not just for patients or staff. We invite the public to come see us.”

Senters said right now, the Auxiliary is having a tough time keeping the shop staffed. They need more volunteers willing to step for in a couple hours a week.

“We’re at a bit of a low point for volunteers,” said Auxiliary member Karen Senters. “In the past year or two, we’ve had to decrease the number of hours we’re open because we haven’t had enough volunteers to cover it.”

“It’s not a difficult job,” she said. “And most people find it to be fun.”

The auxiliary is a nonprofit organization and the sales from the gift shop, along with other fund raisers help the hospital to purchase much-needed items that may not be in the budget. In addition to the gift shop, the auxiliary also holds a “no-bake-bake sale” each year to solicit donations. The group also sponsors book sales and jewelry sales to help support projects.

“Recently, the auxiliary bought all of the EMTs new winter coats with the appropriate markings,” said Auxiliary member Barb Young. She said the auxiliary has also helped purchase CPR mannequins

The group also provides scholarships to graduates of Hamilton County schools who plan to pursue a career in a medical field.

Currently, the gift shop 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those who would be interested in joining the Auxiliary or who would like to help out in the gift shop, are asked to call Senters, 832-1926 or Young at 832-1447.