July 19th, 2024

Inside Health Care: Gift shop at hospital one of the great legacies of the Auxiliary Association

By Medicine Hat News on July 22, 2017.

Sept. 12, 1986, was the day a new era in Medicine Hat’s health care was ushered in with the official opening of a bigger and better hospital. The new hospital would serve our community with new services and opportunities to provide better care. One such opportunity was our gift shop.

The space that we now know as the atrium was built in the 1986 renovation and for the first time our hospital had a gift shop. The gift shop was opened by the Auxiliary Association, a 100-year-old society that was established in 1894 by a group of 16 women motivated to help the hospital in any way possible. Their original goal was to generate revenue to build the Nurses’ Residence and to provide needed services and patient comfort items, “little extras,” that could enhance patient satisfaction.

In the decades that followed, the Auxiliary Association went on to do just that, supporting the hospital by supplying sheets, blankets and pillows; hand-knitted baby items; and a library and mobile cart of reading material for patients.

It’s amazing that a small group created a legacy of caring that’s lasted more than a century — and resulted in raising millions of dollars to purchase hospital equipment. Through countless bake sales, teas, raffles and other fundraising activities, the Auxiliary Association has helped purchase patient beds, ultrasound and anesthesia equipment, portable defibrillators, microscopes and more.

The Medicine Hat and District Health Foundation took over the operations of the hospital gift shop in November of 2010, and the Auxiliary Association hung up their hats for the last time in 2015.

Today the gift shop has one paid employee; the remaining staff is volunteers. All proceeds from the gift shop continue to be used to purchase needed medical equipment and support programs and services for health care in our community.

Thanks to the Auxiliary Association the gift shop has given more than $1.3 million to improve health care in Medicine Hat. Help us continue supporting health care in our community by visiting the Hospital Gift Shop!

Heather Bach is the executive director of the Medicine Hat & District Health Foundation. The Health Foundation supports all AHS-related equipment and programs within Medicine Hat and area. If you would like to support any of the current needs, please call the Health Foundation at 403 528-8133 or visit http://www.myhealthfoundation.ca

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