Volunteers keep care center gift shop thriving

Patti Carpenter

Eight active volunteers keep the gift shop open for business at New Horizons Care Center. Many have donated their time for years. Most, but not all, are retired.

Volunteer Janice Fink has been helping in the shop for about eight years off and on. She said she enjoys the interaction with care center residents, staff and visitors.

“For some of the residents it’s a needed break during the day,” said Fink. “They stop by to say hello and to shop for their favorite items. I have found over the years that the residents and the staff are very kind and supportive.”

Fink said the volunteers keep the little shop fully stocked with inexpensive, unique gifts, snacks, frozen foods, pop and some necessities, like Chapstick, nail files and clippers. 

“We try to stock favorites, whenever we can,” she said, “like a resident’s favorite candy bar and that sort of thing.”

The store is currently open Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Fink said the volunteers take four-hour shifts and alternate days. She said they have been open longer hours in the past when there was a larger pool of volunteers. She said the schedule is very flexible, and more volunteers are needed.

“We used to keep longer hours and held special fundraisers like the soup and pie event and a bazaar, but we just don’t have enough people to do that right now,” she said.

Fink noted that the money raised through the gift shop goes to purchase items for the care center that are needed but not in the budget.

“We get a wish list every year,” Fink said.

Items purchased in the past include chairs, a medication cart, cushions, glassware and more. This year’s wish list includes white boards, tables and headphones for the hearing impaired.

To volunteer, contact Kirsten Bryson in the human resources department. 

Fink added that volunteers are not limited to just women.

“Men are welcome, too,” she said.