If you visit the hospital and you find yourself needing a warm smile and a little comfort, go to The Shoppe at PMC, run by Lois Schroeder and the hospital’s Auxiliary volunteers. You are bound to receive it from one of the several retired women who work there, as they have compassion and a caring spirit to spare.
While the intent of the gift shop is to provide a welcoming place to buy a little something for our patients, the money raised is also used to purchase equipment and provide programs and education for patients. The driving force of the volunteers is to offer a helping hand when it’s most needed.
“The volunteers are enthusiastic to make sales, but that’s not the most important thing. Caring for others is their main concern,” said Lois, who manages The Shoppe at PMC.
The Auxiliary has 58 members, with close to 10 that regularly work in the gift shop. The shop is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Nearly half of the Auxiliary members are involved in handiwork—making blankets, quilts, sweaters for babies, tea towels and other crafts to sell at the shop. They are also known to simply give a blanket away if they see someone who really needs it, in the moment.
“We have homemade love blankets that we keep on hand to give people in the waiting room who need comfort, who are cold, or who simply need a pick me up,” Lois said.
Since The Shoppe is near the main waiting area, the ladies of the Auxiliary have a good view of who might need a little extra comfort. They offer an ear to people who need to talk, give books or small toys to kids who need distraction, help people to their cars and offer an umbrella when it’s raining, visit patients whose family or friends can’t make it, and always offer a smile and a warm greeting.
Proceeds from The Shoppe and other fundraisers, including the upcoming Books for Fun event on October 7, and homemade noodles at the Christmas Bizarre go toward providing four nursing scholarships each year for students at Lamar Community College, sponsoring programs and patient education, and buying needed equipment for various departments at Prowers Medical Center.
In recent years, the Auxiliary has purchased two imaging tables for the imaging department, fetal heart monitors, furnishings for the waiting area, trays for the kitchen, and much more. Currently, they are purchasing exercise equipment for the physical therapy department, in honor of a past member of the Auxiliary.
“The Auxiliary women are very close and they take care of each other,” Lois said.
Many of the Auxiliary members meet every Monday morning from 9:00 am to 11:30 am to complete handiwork together including quilting and embroidery. A business meeting is held once a month. It costs $5 to join and they always welcome new members. If you are interested, visit with any Auxiliary member in the gift shop.
A board of directors runs the Auxiliary with Anna Mae Gotto as the chair. Anna Mae is the retired postmaster of Wiley.
“Anna Mae is a great leader who is very good at getting things done in an organized way,” Lois added.
Besides running the gift shop and making homemade gifts to sell, Auxiliary members also help the hospital in many other ways, including being there for patients in times of need through visits and taking them from surgery to their families in the waiting area. Volunteers also help with hospital events that support the community, including the health fair and collecting canned goods, school supplies, mittens and gloves, and much more.
The gift shop offers unique items that are themed for holidays and significant events. With the anniversary of 9-11 around the corner, they are offering patriotic items including caps, scarves, flags and knickknacks. Another specialty item that’s available right now is handmade orange and black hats to support the local Lamar Savages sports teams and students.
“Volunteers donate thousands of hours and are involved in many activities that enhance the hospital. They do so much behind the scenes but the most important of all is simply being there for patients and families in need,” Lois concluded.
For more information about The Shoppe @ PMC or the Hospital Auxiliary, visit the hospital’s website at www.prowersmedical.com and click on the “PMC Gift Shop” link on the left-hand side of the home page.