Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary president Diana Lenihan. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Shop accepting donations again, starting Friday

Actual store being renovated during the pandemic and not likely to reopen for at least a month

The famous Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Shop will start taking donations again on Friday.

Donations will be accepted Friday, May 15 and Saturday, May 16 at the gates from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day and then Mondays through Saturdays from 9 to 1 until the shop opens again.

It bears repeating this does not mean the store is open for shopping again, just for taking donations.

“We’ve had numerous calls on that one already,” conceded Auxiliary president Diana Lenihan. “You cannot say it enough.”

It’s safety first with donations and the organization is now in a position to do that.

“We hope all our donors know how valued they are to us, and they continue to show support and understanding,” noted Lenihan. “We will try our darnedest to process the items as quickly and painlessly as we can. We will continue to adjust, to keep the path an easy one to walk.”

To reduce a traffic snarl, drivers are being asked to approach the store going west on Oak Street, and then turning right onto Maple Street so vehicles are heading toward Kin Beach, making it safer and simplifying the unloading of the donations.

Lenihan added it was most devastating when the decision was made to close the Thrift Shop doors on March 16.

“We seized the opportunity to go forward with renovations to our building while we would be shut down,” she pointed out. “The painting and flooring was taking us into the first part of June, if all goes smoothly.”

Lenihan felt it was time to be pro-active, with members needing to become engaged again while the line-ups to the landfill were receiving the Auxiliary’s usual donations.

“Not good for Mother Earth or us,” she stated. “Plus, we knew we needed to offset the initial influx of donations, as not to overwhelm our membership upon return.”

Thus, thinking outside the box, the answer became a container.

Lenihan contacted BigSteelBox that generously offered a container at half price.

With safety of volunteers, customers and donors in mind, the membership was contacted for assistance and 15 agreed to do the task within the first 30 minutes after an email was sent out.

“The response told a story, members of our auxiliary are truly a group of individuals that pull together for the common cause, the quest to meet the request of financial support from the health care sector,” Lenihan noted.

Donors are asked to ensure they provide quality and gently used items because getting rid of garbage costs the Auxiliary $1,000 a month that takes away from offering items in the store at such low prices. Items are also to be put in tied bags or unsealed boxes.

Donations will be screened and rejected items returned.

Like every other organization, the Auxiliary is just not going to be able to donate the same amount to health care because of the pandemic.

“We’ll be scrambling for next year,” conceded Lenihan. “The donations are just not going to be the same – a big financial strain on the system.”

As for the reopening of the shop, Lenihan expects that won’t happen until at least mid-June, depending on provincial health orders at that time.

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