The Sun News

Peach County Medical Center volunteers create gift shop to raise funds

Medical Center of Peach County volunteers gather in front of the new store during the grand opening Feb. 12.
Medical Center of Peach County volunteers gather in front of the new store during the grand opening Feb. 12. SPECIAL TO THE SUN NEWS

A new gift shop is helping make hospital patients and guests more comfortable. The Peach Blossom is now open in the lobby of the Medical Center of Peach County, Navicent Health.

The store, which held its grand opening Feb. 12-13, is being operated by the hospital's Volunteer Auxiliary, and the profits will be used for patient care services, said Jodie Aldridge, the hospital's community engagement director and volunteer coordinator. For instance, volunteers recently invested in a plate-warming system that keeps delivered meals hot for patients.

Previously, the space was occupied by the Peach Blossom Boutique, which was owned by a third party whose contract ended last summer. Hospital volunteers wanted to find another way to raise funds for the hospital and suggested managing a new gift shop, Aldridge said. It took about three months to renovate the space and outfit it for business.

The Peach Blossom is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and also during some special event weekends. Twelve to 15 volunteers are helping with the store's operations, with one person working the morning shift and another in the afternoon.

"They were excited about the opportunity, and they are wanting to make it the best it can be," Aldridge said. "(The volunteers) have done a great job in doing the ground work and all the research to actually put on the gift shop. It's a great group of ladies and men that work hard for the hospital and its patients."

Products for sale include health and beauty items, snacks, balloons, teddy bears, candy bouquets, jewelry, apparel and gifts, Aldridge said. The store accepts cash, check and credit cards, and employees can have purchases deducted from their paychecks.

"A lot of the inventory was just flying off the shelf," Aldridge said. "So far, it's been really successful."

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