MARSHALL - Every scarf and piece of jewelry patrons buy at the Avera Marshall Auxiliary Gift Shop at the Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center provides enjoyment for the buyer in the item itself and it also contributes to a bigger cause - buying much needed medical equipment for the hospital.
There are no payroll costs in this shop - all the volunteers freely give of their time.
"It's a good service for the hospital," said volunteer Coleen Frye.
Photo by Karin Elton
Avera Marshall Auxiliary Gift Shop manager Shirley Martin recently adjusted a Willow Tree angel, one of the many gift items the shop offers.
The Avera Marshall Foundation recently gave the Auxiliary an award for being its largest donor. Auxiliary Gift Shop manager Shirley Martin also received an award for being volunteer of the month.
Martin has volunteered at the gift shop for the past 20 years. She also helps out at the Auxiliary Thrift Store.
"I'm a widow," she said, "it gives me something to do. I enjoy being with people."
After Frye retired as a school teacher, she found the gift shop a good place to spend her free time.
Madonna Cinkle is also a retired teacher who works behind the counter at the gift shop. They've both worked at the shop about five years.
"It's a worthwhile place to volunteer," said Cinkle.
About 40 people volunteer at the gift shop. Each shift is four hours long and two people are on each shift.
"You pick the day you want to work," said Cinkle. "If something comes up, we call each other to take the shift."
Frye said working at the gift shop is "a wonderful way to meet people. I've met people from Minneota, Cottonwood - the surrounding community."
Martin said there are many repeat customers who come in looking for the latest offerings.
"Women say it's reasonably priced," she said. "And the items are unique. We only order three or four pieces. You won't see yourself coming."
There are seasonal items as well, Martin said. Also, the gift shop participates in the annual table setting fair in November and sets out an arrangement of items - "things we know people will buy as Christmas gifts" - for people who don't have reasons to come to the hospital and may not know about the gift shop and what it has for sale.
The items are bought at a large market in Minneapolis, Martin said.
"We usually go twice a year," she said.
In addition to collectible angel figurines, store items include an assortment of scarves and jewelry - "we keep up with fashions and colors," said Frye - as well as a collection of greeting cards. Gift shop workers also sell fresh flowers.
"Hy-Vee brings them in," Martin said.
In addition to flowers, coffee is always brewing and can be bought for 25 cents for a small cup or 50 cents for a large along with rolls, muffins and bars which are brought in from the cafeteria.