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Auxiliary takes thrifty approach to fund raising

November 30, 2004|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Delores Rice was attending her first Maryland Association of Hospital Auxiliaries convention in Ocean City, Md., last year when she came up with a fund-raising idea for the local hospital auxiliary - a thrift shop.

Other hospital auxiliaries run successful thrift shops and the operation would be a way to reach out and get community support for the auxiliary, said Rice, president of Washington County Hospital Auxiliary Inc. Most of the auxiliary's fund-raisers had targeted hospital employees, she said.

Less than a year after Rice attended a workshop about hospital thrift shops at the convention and nine months after presenting her idea to hospital administrators, the local auxiliary on Sept. 7 opened Repeat Performance thrift shop at 747 Northern Ave., Suite 102.

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"I'm very pleased," said Rice, who joined the auxiliary almost three years ago following her retirement after 30 years with Farmers & Merchants Bank and Trust.

A little more than a month after the Oct. 14 grand opening, the thrift shop had paid off the start-up money it borrowed from the auxiliary, said Rice, 65, of Hagerstown.

The thrift shop is set up so each room has a theme.

There are rooms for domestics and housewares, accessories, toys and games, women's clothing, formal wear and vintage items, men's clothing, boys' and girls' clothes, infant and toddler merchandise and a Christmas room.

There's also a "This 'n' That" room for items that don't fit into the other categories, a dressing room and a hallway with books for sale.

Rice described the thrift shop as an upscale operation, with slightly used donated items carefully inspected to make sure they don't show signs of wear.

If a donated item shows signs of wear, the auxiliary donates it to the Hagerstown Rescue Mission, she said.

Proceeds from the thrift shop's sales will go into the auxiliary's general fund, Rice said.

What auxiliary funds buy can change year to year, but the group always funds scholarships for students in medical fields and sometimes donates equipment to the hospital, said Cynthia Kennedy, director of volunteer services for Washington County Health System.

Eighteen auxiliary members volunteer their time to operate the shop, which is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

People who want to donate items can drop them off at the shop during regular business hours. For more information, call 301-665-2993.

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