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Thrift store builds healthier community


By MARINA SACHT

“We have no shortage attracting customers,” says Pam Fraser, chair of the Ladysmith Healthcare Auxiliary Building committee as she gives me a tour through the crowded Thrift Store. The shipping and sorting area is jam-packed with donations waiting to be processed.

The Healthcare Auxiliary will be expanding its outgrown workspace, office and lunchroom following a 2500 sq. ft addition proposed for the building.

“Hopefully it will hold us for a generation,” laughs Fraser.

The Ladysmith Thrift store attracts customers near and far. Every morning there is a queue waiting for the doors to open. In the back, a steady stream of donations are processed by three shippers,  “and we could use more” says Fraser.

“We need a lot of volunteers to try to keep up with what’s coming,” she explains.

The Ladysmith Thrift Store is one of the Island’s great success stories. Not only does it attract shoppers near and far with its affordable prices and friendly service but it has contributed to the well-being of the whole community.

Another smaller store is operated at the Ladysmith Community Health Centre. The Gift Shop offers many hand-made unique gifts at a fraction of what they cost elsewhere.

Started in 1909 as a small group of local women donating their services to perform various tasks at the local hospital, the Auxiliary has grown to become a vibrant community entity with over 200 members.

Every year the Auxiliary donates funding to the Ladysmith Community Health Centre and other health-related services that benefit our citizens.

In 2018 they Auxiliary contributed $262,589.33. The Ladysmith Fire Department received two thermal image cameras enabling them to see through smoke. The Ladysmith Resources Centre was able to use their $30,000 towards their community programs. The $10,000 donated to LaFF will go towards making our children healthier, $125,000 went to Cowichan Valley Hospice Society’s Hospice House…and that’s just a small sample of what’s possible because of volunteers.

Organizations like the Auxiliary could not exist without them.

Last year was a banner year – with 41 new members joining them.

“It’s rewarding,” says Fraser. “It’s the reason we do it.” And it’s one of the best things you can do to ensure a healthy community.

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