Volunteers with the Ashcroft and District Health Care Auxiliary at the Thrift Store in Ashcroft.

Volunteers with the Ashcroft and District Health Care Auxiliary at the Thrift Store in Ashcroft.

Health Care Auxiliary still going strong after more than a century

The Ashcroft and District Health Care Auxiliary's Thrift Store helps healthcare throughout the region.

For more than a century, the Ashcroft and District Health Care Auxiliary (ADHCA) has been raising funds for local healthcare. In the past the organization held dances (a fund-raiser in 1913 raised $150; more than $3,500 in today’s dollars), raffles (a Ford motorcar was donated as a prize by a local dealership in the 1920s), movie nights, and educational presentations to raise money to help the Lady Minto Hospital in Ashcroft and other healthcare initiatives in the region.

In June 1963 Dollie Norrie founded a Thrift Store on Railway Avenue. It now operates out of the Ashcroft Village Office building on Bancroft, which stands on the site of the original Lady Minto Hospital.

It’s run by some two dozen volunteers, who operate the store on Wednesdays and Fridays from 12:00 to 4:00pm. However, a lot of behind-the-scenes work goes on outside those hours, with volunteers arriving early to sort through the donations, price them, and get them on display.

“People can drop items off at any time in the box outside,” says Thrift Shop Coordinator Sandra Moon. “The box” is the size of a small shed, and Moon says that when she arrived at the store that morning it was full, even though it gets emptied regularly.

“Our donors go way beyond just being donors,” she says. “They care about what they send us. For a small community, people are so generous with their donations.”

Moon says that they sometimes get requests from people or organizations. “They’ll say ‘Will you watch for something for me?’, and we will.” The Thrift Store has donated many items to the Winding Rivers Arts & Performance Society for their productions, and also donates clothing to women’s shelters and the Elizabeth Fry Society. “They’ll call up and ask for things, and if we have them they get them.”

A report in The Journal on Aug. 22, 1913 noted the foundation of the ADHCA, and stated that “We trust that the good work thus so pleasantly and unanimously begun will continue throughout the existence of the Lady Minto Hospital.” Today the ADHCA has a mandate to provide funding for healthcare in the area, and in the 103 years since its inception has raised more than $1 million (in today’s dollars) for that cause.

Today the Thrift Store is their main fund-raiser, with the group also maintaining a showcase of handmade goods for sale at the hospital. The ADHCA recently donated $20,000 to the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation. Moon says that after the donation made the news, “everyone who came in the next day said ‘Way to go!’ to us.”

The Thrift Store has its monthly Bag Sale going on through March 25. “You get all the clothes you can stuff into a Safety Mart bag for $3.00,” says Moon. “And you’d be surprised how much you can get in there!”