Hospital gift shop volunteers listen to a presentation during the annual lunch to award grants. (PeaceHealth photo)

The gift shop at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center has awarded about $30,000 in grants for different departments within the local hospital.

Each year, gift shop profits are distributed for hospital needs. Over the years, the volunteer-run shop has given more than $600,000, according to an announcement from PeaceHealth.

Ketchikan Medical Center Foundation oversees the gift shop’s operation, but volunteers have been a vital part of the program since its start.

Matt Eisenhower of the Foundation says the gift shop earns between $30,000 and $50,000 each year. The grants go toward items that otherwise are not likely to be funded through insurance.

“As an example, one of the grants was $4,500 toward what is called a MetaNeb system, which helps post-op patients who have COPD or bronchitis and other things,” he said. “It helps them be better treated. It’s not a large population in our community, but it’s one that’s significant enough that we recognize that would be something good to put into place.”

Carolyn Wilsie and Matt Eisenhower talk during the Ketchikan hospital gift shop annual lunch for volunteers. (PeaceHealth photo)

Eisenhower says the gift shop opened a dedicated space in the hospital in the mid-1990s. Before that, he says, volunteers had a cart offering small items.

One of the long-time volunteers is Carolyn Wilsie, who says in the announcement that it took a few years for the gift shop to start making a profit.  Their first grant went toward two new wheelchairs.

Since then, gift shop profits have bought items such as new toys for the child development center, and major equipment worth tens of thousands of dollars. Eisenhower says all the volunteers gather once a year, and each has a vote for what projects will be funded.

“So, we have a luncheon in which the different managers from the various department of the hospital will come and pitch their ideas to the committee,” he said. “And then they decide on which ones they’re going to fund for that particular year.”

This year, the gift shop committee received 11 grant requests and funded them all. They include items for the hospital’s prayer room, training heart monitors, items for respiratory therapy, and a cold-food vending machine for the lobby.

This year, the gift shop committee received 11 grant requests and funded them all. They are:

  1. Spiritual Care: Several items for the Prayer Room and outreach services $218
  2. Child Care: Floor Mount Utility Sink $893
  3. Education: Two ZOLL training heart monitors with defibrillators $17,290
  4. Med/Surg: iPad for patient education $500
  5. Respiratory Therapy: Educational materials for COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) $400
  6. Respiratory Therapy: MetaNeb System $4500 Used by post-operative patients, COPD, bronchiectasis, and others to help prevent post-operative complications and help with secretion clearance
  7. Food Services:  Cold food vending machine in lobby $4645
  8. Rehabilitation: Tests and books for speech services $706
  9. Rehabilitation: Wheelchair accessories $733
  10. Rehabilitation: Compression donning aid $800
  11. Rehabilitation: Expiratory Muscle Strength Trainer EMST) $500 (for 10 devices) For adults with dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) like Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis.