HOSPITAL HELPERS

The St. Luke Hospital Auxiliary Shoppe managers include (from left) Walter Hein, Mary Ann (Mac) Conyers and Richard Hein. Along with the managers, there are 13 other volunteers working more than just the two days the store is open.Now in its 10th year, the St. Luke Hospital Auxiliary Shoppe at 321 E. Main St. in Marion, was ranked first overall among similar facilities in Kansas.

Richard Hein, one of the three store managers, said it’s hard not to brag about being rated first seven times.

“We have regular customers from Leavenworth, Wichita, Salina, Hutchinson, Newton, Goessel, McPherson and more,” Hein said.

In addition to his wife, Phyllis, being a volunteer, Richard Hein said his brother Walter Hein is also a manager with emphasis on electronics and storage.

Mary Ann Conyers, known as Mac, is the third manager, who does the window displays and helps with pricing when needed.

Roger Schroeder, executive director of the St. Luke Foundation, who also serves on the auxiliary board, said the facility opened in December of 2005, but the auxiliary as an organization began in 1973.

As for how the money is used to help the community and the hospital, Schroeder said recently the auxiliary board contributed money to renovate the radiology hall and suite.

In addition, the board also contributed toward the current renovation taking place at the St. Luke Medical Clinic.

“In the past couple of years, the auxiliary has purchased equipment for the clinic and St. Luke Hospital Living Center.

“The auxiliary gave $125,000, pledged over a five-year period, but was paid in full early, to the hospital building renovation project completed in 2011,” Schroe­der said.The St. Luke Hospital Auxiliary Shoppe moved to its current location at 321 E. Main St. within the past year. Owned by St. Luke Hospital Foundation, the store is operated by the Auxiliary board and the volunteers.

Mission

“The mission of St. Luke Hospital Auxiliary,” he said, “is to promote and advance the welfare of St. Luke Hospital.

“They do so in providing funds to different types of projects that benefit St. Luke.”

Conyers added that Judy Reno instigated the auxiliary shoppe with the purpose of helping the hospital and in doing so helping the community, too.

“(The auxiliary) is good for the community who benefits and for the people who donate,” she said.

Another little-known fact about the organization’s mission is how it helps families who have lost everything in fires.

Conyers said: “We also help with disasters.

“A couple of years ago, there were houses destroyed in Burns and Lehigh and we donated a lot of things to the families needing clothes.”

The family could come down to the facility at night or when it was convenient for them and they were able to pick out what they needed, Richard Hein said.

One of the Marion pastors, he added, sent a woman here for certain items.

“It was strictly as a donation,” he said. “We do a lot and give a lot away. We don’t think a lot of people realize this.”

For most of the volunteers at the auxiliary shoppe, they believe they are here for the people, and the hospital.

Success

Volunteers are the mainstay of the auxiliary and the reason for the success of the auxiliary’s fundraising efforts for St. Luke Hospital, which at the end of 2015 was $310,113.

However, the shoppe is also responsible for paying its own utilities, any upgrades or improvements, which would bring the gross total a lot higher, organizers said.

But, beyond the dollar amounts raised are the thousands of volunteer hours donated each year, not only to the auxiliary, but to patient services, fundraising tasks, education and health promotion.

Richard Hein said: “Nobody draws a dime. We are all volunteers.”

In addition to those who work at the shoppe, he said, the auxiliary has an 11-member board to promote the hospital.

Another important part of the auxiliary’s success, Conyers said, is the generosity of the community.

Substantiating that, Richard Hein said, he is still amazed, after eight years, the brand new articles of clothing that come in.

“We had a brand new item with the tag marked $29.95 and we marked it for $4,” he said.

Walter Hein said that while going through items that were left at the back door, someone left a brand new large tackle box priced at $125 that was sold at the shoppe for $25.

Another volunteer who helps with many items is Orville Pfeiffer.

“We are all basically on-call for different things,” he said.

Conyers said the two brothers, Richard and Walter and Pfeiffer recently wanted to upgrade the lighting system in the facility.

“Those three guys put in at least 120 hours for the LED lights,” she said, “and it’s made a big difference.”

It’s because of the enthusiasm of the volunteers that make this successful, Conyers said, but it also requires a board making decisions.

“We have 16 volunteers who work all the time,” Conyers said. “Some put in two hours a day or four hours a day.”

Richard Hein said he and his brother are putting in 40 hours a week.

“Mac will come down three to four hours some nights,” he said.

Sometimes it might be to get window displays ready or whatever else might need to get done.

When Nancy Klaassen retired after owning Nancy’s Fashions for many years, she donated a lot of things to the auxiliary shoppe, Conyers said.

Walter Hein said they don’t throw anything away that’s donated.

“If we get items we don’t think we can use, we will donate them to various missions,” he said.

Richard Hein added that with clothes that are unable to be sold in Marion or donated to missions, will be sent to a recycling location.

Organization

Walter Hein was a supply sergeant in the U.S. Army, and when he volunteered to help, he knew he would need to reorganize the system.

“We receive a lot of items and when I started here there were so many different shapes and sizes of boxes that it was impossible to stack them,” he said.

The idea Walter Hein said he came up with was banana boxes because they are all the same size and large enough to hold a lot of items.

With this change in stacking boxes, Walter Hein said it’s made it a lot easier for the other volunteers to pull clothes out for the next season.

“Everything is marked with children’s winter, summer, spring, Easter, Christmas and more, the same as it is for men’s and women’s clothes,” Conyers said.

When it comes time to change the window display, she said, the way the upstairs is arranged makes her job a lot easier, too.

The facility is open from noon to 5 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.

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