The gift shop at our local hospital, Gifts of Love, does more than sell trinkets and flowers. Revenues from shop sales go toward a range of investments, from funding activities for nursing home residents, to providing scholarships to Bibb residents pursuing medical careers. They recently bought several chairs for resident rooms at the nursing home that were long past needing to be replaced, as well.
Open seven days a week – Monday through Friday 7:30-4:00, Saturday 10:00-2:00, and Sunday 1:00-4:00 – some people are currently working all seven days just to keep it operating. More volunteers are badly needed.
“We currently have only four volunteers,” said John Krapf, Vice President of the Bibb Medical Center Auxiliary, “and some of those are elderly people in wheelchairs who are working 18-20 hours per week.”
“Even as little as 3 hours every other week would be wonderful. We’re extremely flexible. We’re all retired, so we work with volunteers for scheduling.”
Mr. Krapf manages the gift shop, while his wife, Pene Norville-Krapf, serves as the buyer for the gift shop and the treasurer for the BMC Auxiliary. They stay quite busy. “The volunteers work it mostly through the week, and my wife and I work it on the weekends.”
Mr. Krapf said optimally they would like to at least double the number of volunteers currently working in the gift shop. That would allow him to schedule 3-hour shifts, to keep workers from getting too worn out. If you think you wouldn’t have time, or they wouldn’t be able to work around your schedule, think again. “Even as little as 3 hours every other week would be wonderful. We’re extremely flexible. We’re all retired, so we work with volunteers for scheduling.”
The volunteers don’t just work in the gift shop, either. While the shop funds all the activities for nursing home residents, gift shop volunteers also help to run the activities, such as a fishing event at the pond behind the facility a few months ago. So, it can be fun besides being rewarding.
When asked what he would say to someone thinking of possibly volunteering, Mr. Krapf had this to say:
“We are extremely blessed to have a facility like this here, especially when many small hospitals are closing across the state … and the opportunity to give back makes you feel very very good inside, that you’re actually giving back to the community. Anytime you’re volunteering and can give back, I think that’s something special.”
If you would like to volunteer, stop by the reception desk in the hospital lobby to pick up an application, or call Bibb Medical Center at 205-926-4881 or Pene Norville-Krapf at 602-791-8923. For all volunteer opportunities at BMC, download and fill out the Volunteer Application on the BMC website here.