HANCOCK – If you’ve ever walked through the UP Health System – Portage Hospital in Hancock, you’ve probably noticed the Guilded Rose Gift Shop in the main lobby of the building.
Open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day of the week, boutique merchandise includes fresh flowers, jewelry, baby supplies, cards, candy, snacks, and other gift items.
What visitors to the hospital may not know is that the Guilded Rose is made up entirely of volunteers and that all profits generated by the store are donated to local nonprofits or used to fund scholarships.
While space for the gift shop is donated by the hospital, the shop itself is operated by Portage Health Auxiliary, an independent 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization.
“Since the fall of 2016, we have distributed over $ 200,000 to 50 local non-profit organizations that meet our criteria” said Ronda Bogan, a volunteer who has worked for the gift shop for over 30 years. “Our standard is to help the well-being and health of the youth and the elderly in this region of four counties – Baraga, Ontonagon, Keweenaw and Houghton. “
Grant recipients include Superior Search and Rescue, Simple Kindness for Youth (SKY), Copper Country Autism Awareness and the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce for its “Let’s Eat” program. The organization accepts grant applications and distributes grants twice a year.
“I love him because I love people and I love what we do. We keep the money in the community and it is so necessary ”, Bogan said.
The Guilded Rose is now looking for new volunteers to help staff the gift shop. Although the store has a group of dedicated volunteers, it has recently needed some extra support.
“We operate this store with probably five, six volunteers at most”, Bogan explained. “If we don’t get the volunteers, it’s hard to keep the store open.
In addition to contributing to the Auxiliary’s philanthropic mission, the gift shop volunteers engage with the community during their shifts at the Guilded Rose.
“It’s great to work there because people come in and just want to talk” Bogan said. “Maybe they know someone who is a patient or they come over there for chemo or kidney dialysis.
We try to keep things upbeat, where people can step in and get a card, or a birthday present, or they can order flowers to send to a patient,“she continued.”I think everyone who works there really believes and loves it and they love the people who come in.
Those interested in volunteering at Guilded Rose can call the Gift Shop at 906-483-1565 or contact the Human Resources Department at UP Health System Portage Hospital.