Hospital Thrift Store Cashes In On Volunteer Spirit

John Commins, April 17, 2013

In June, the Gingham Tree Resale Shop will celebrate its 40th anniversary as a major fundraiser for Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, IL.

In fact, the shop is two years older than the hospital it supports. In the past 10 years Gingham Tree, located on the southeast corner of the hospital campus, has raised more than $2.1 million to support projects at the hospital that include upgrades to the Level 1 trauma emergency department and the pediatrics unit, a renovation of the cardiac catheterization lab, and new operating equipment for the surgical suites.

The shop, which is owned and operated by the hospital auxiliary, was one of four programs to receive the American Hospital Association's 2013 Hospital Award for Volunteer Excellence (HAVE) for "extraordinary efforts of volunteer programs and the positive impact their contributions have on the patients, hospitals, health systems and communities they serve."

"We sell everything. Our motto is 'You give us good stuff. We do great things,'" says Ausra Paronis, a co-supervisor of the 80 or so volunteers who work at Gingham Tree six days a week. "We go all the way from clothing to electronics to glassware, [and] dishes. Being on the property, we get a lot of associates and volunteers who will drop by. Our visitors are some of our biggest customers; our patients who are here for a test of some kind will drop by while they are waiting for the results or if their doctor is late."

Laura Neiberg, Good Samaritan's vice president, ancillary services and community health, says Gingham Tree and its volunteers "enhance our mission in a number of ways."

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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