Daily Point of Light # 3026 Sep 9, 2005

The Jewish Home and Care Center volunteers in the Gift Shop are few in number but the scope of this group of caring volunteers is vast. For the Jewish Home’s Gift Shop is more than a place to buy a card, a gift of candy bar. The Gift Shop is a place to visit, to share and to be assured of a smile and a friendly greeting. Open six days a week, the shop serves the residents of the Home, residents of the Chai Point Retirement Center, the staff teams of those facilities, family members and visitors.

The Home’s Gift Shop is unique in its 100 percent volunteer staff. Volunteers coordinate the buying and stocking of shelves, do the bookkeeping and go to the bank, mark items and create displays and even dust the shelves when necessary. The Gift Shop Volunteers are deeply committed to using every penny of the profits of the shop to provide services to the residents, and many work multiple days a week to make this possible. The Gift Shop profits are added to the funds of Hand in Hand (the Women’s Service Auxiliary of the Home) to support programs such as the monthly birthday parties, flowers for new residents, the Home’s ceramics program, holiday programming, the aviary in the Home’s lobby and other programs as needed. The Gift Shop volunteers like to say that they have “the little shop that makes a difference,” and this difference can be seen on the faces of residents both as they visit the shop and enjoy programs partly made possible from the shop profits.

With this important mission, one would think that sales are of primary importance in the gift shop. However, many customers don’t buy anything. Instead, they visit to find a friendly smile, a listening ear, and a hug and pat on the back when needed. Volunteers also “go the extra mile” for our residents, often acting as personal shoppers to find a special candy bar or package of cookies (all kosher, of course). Buyer and Gift Shop Chair Della Bornstein has developed a large children’s section of items of all price ranges so that grandchildren and great grandchildren can receive gifts when they visit.

The shop and its team of 15-20 volunteers (at any one time) have served residents for more than 25 years. All profits from the Shop go to the Hand in Hand account in the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation to support resident programming. Profits from the Shop are not used for paid staff. The Jewish Home and Care Center Gift Shop donates between $5,000 and $8,000 each year to the Hand in Hand fund.