A labour of love

The Peace Arch Hospital Auxiliary has volunteers who go above and beyond.

  • Feb. 22, 2012 12:00 p.m.

On April 30, the Peace Arch Hospital Auxiliary Society will hold a fashion show for its members and close friends, with members as models, and with no Paris designers or New York designers.

A former mayor may model, and a sitting MLA has reason to be involved, too. Both are honorary life members.

The only fashions available are from our Superfluity Shop, and the only models are auxiliary members.

It is not a fundraiser. We do it for the love of it.

(Sorry. I apologize. You likely will not get tickets. No scalpers work this event, either. You either belong or have a friend who belongs. It does not happen every year.)

I mention this event because February is the month of Valentines. Valentine’s Day should actually last all month, or all year, and actually, it does in the hearts of those who volunteer at the Supe Shop, and in other facets of the auxiliary.

On occasion, the auxiliary thinks about new vests or jackets for volunteers to wear in the hospital and Supe Shop, but through all of the discussions we have agreed that the colour should always be red, to signify at all times that the auxiliary acts with a big heart, to the betterment of Peace Arch Hospital.

Our thrift store on Prospect Avenue is called the Superfluity Shop. We would like to know what the ladies were sipping in 1948 when they chose this name, but we do know that “superfluous,” meaning surplus, is the root of the name.

This store has approximately 120 volunteers working every week, under the direction of our beloved co-ordinator Patricia Johnston, a fulltime volunteer.

Some work a half day, others a full day, and a few even find time for more.

We have men who check all of the electronics, carry out the heavy garbage cans, and help customers empty their vehicles of donations or fill them with their purchases.

The auxilians start arriving at 7:30 a.m. to make sure that the shop is ready when the rest of the volunteers  arrive.

Each person has a job to do, and knows the crowds start arriving at 10 a.m.

Some sort and price clothes, sort and price hardware, and some are engaged in constant cleanup.

At times, as many as eight people work in the back of the shop.

The volunteers that work in the store help customers, work as cashier or tidy the shop, and some monitor the shameless who might slip a $4-item into their bag. Some recycle the items that are not saleable, or that can be directed to other charitable groups for better use.

We are very proud of our Supe Shop.  It is the major revenue generator for the auxiliary; the Gift Shop in our Hospital being second. The hospital gift shop is also a hundred per cent run by volunteers, but that is for another story about the auxiliary.

Our volunteers do this work on behalf of the hospital, and because of the great support received from members of the community. They do it for the friendships they form, to get out of the house, for the new jokes they hear, and for a great sense of accomplishment.

They do it for the love of it all.

Marylou Kirstein is past-president of Peace Arch Hospital Auxiliary Society