Turning donations into dollars at the Daisy

Jean McHarg and Marilyn Logan
Daisy convener Jean McHarg and Marilyn Logan prepare and label holiday items for storage so they are ready for the Daisy’s annual Christmas in July sale.

Every donation is put to good use at The Daisy.

For all those thrifty shoppers out there, The Daisy, operated by South Shore Regional Hospital Auxiliary, sells gently-used clothing, jewelry, books and small household items, such as dishes and lamps, at great prices. Proceeds from The Daisy, which totalled $315,000 in 2017 alone, support the hospital and other health initiatives in the community.

“We make it easy to get a great deal on great items, while shopping locally and supporting local health care,” said Daisy convener Jean McHarg.

In recent years, The Daisy has also found new and creative ways of supporting the broader community by redirecting items they can't sell or use to other organizations. Sporting goods such as skates and baseball gloves are passed on to the United Way of Lunenburg County or the Municipal Activity and Recreation Centre, bedding goes to Harbour House, personal care items such as unopened bottles of shampoo are directed to Souls Harbour, cotton T-shirts to Bonny Lea Farms and cookie tins to a local church for their annual holiday bake sale. 

Volunteers also keep their eyes opens for items that can be used to support other auxiliary fundraisers, like vases and decorative containers that are passed on to auxiliary member Linda Dagley, who makes floral arrangements to be sold at the hospital gift shop.

There are still some items The Daisy is not able to use, and would rather not receive, such as stained clothing, tattered books or products that need to meet safety standards such as car seats, helmets and lifejackets. But this approach of sharing with other community organizations has proven to be both financially and environmentally friendly, with only about one-third the amount of garbage going to the landfill.

"We do our best to find a home for things that may not sell or take up too much space. If we can't sell it we look at where it can go," said McHarg, who credits The Daisy's success to the 70 or so volunteers who donate about 1,600 hours every month.

Over the past 10 years, auxiliary members have raised and contributed more than $2 million to help improve the care and comfort of patients at South Shore Regional Hospital. They purchase much-needed equipment and furnishings, fund necessary renovations and provide educational opportunities for staff and students. They’ve also supported community health initiatives such as the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre and Senior Wheels Association. 

Last year was a record breaking year for the auxiliary. In 2017, members raised an amazing $375,000 through The Daisy, gift shop, on-site art gallery and home tour. That cash purchased a wide range of items, including a whirlpool bath for the rehabilitation services department, wheelchairs for the medical unit and fetal monitor for maternal care, while also going toward some generous donations to the local food bank and Seniors Wheels Association.

“Our success is a direct result of hardworking volunteers and generous and supportive community members.  Please continue to donate items and shop at The Daisy, the hospital gift shop and the art gallery, so that we can continue to do our important work in support of a healthy community,” said Auxiliary President Sharon Ritcey.

“We are extremely fortunate to have and are grateful for our hardworking volunteers who donate time, talent and energy in support of the care and comfort of our patients, and a healthier community," said Robert Zwicker, health services director for Nova Scotia Health Authority.

The Daisy is located at 90 Glen Allan Drive, next to South Shore Regional Hospital in Bridgewater. Donations of saleable items are welcome and can be dropped off during business hours, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. from Tuesday through Friday and between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday.