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Epworth Manor gift shop gives back to the residents

Did you know that Epworth Manor has a gift shop that is open to the public? Did you know that the money raised goes towards items needed at Epworth Manor? If you answered yes to both of these questions, you are absolutely correct.
The gift shop is run by the Epworth Manor Auxiliary, which raises money in a variety of ways throughout the year and then donates it to the departments to afford a better quality of living for the residents at Epworth. Since 1972, the auxiliary has budgeted $253,809 to go back into the facility.
The auxiliary was formed in 1971 by Mrs. Mary Barner and Reverend Ivan Miller. It started with 57 members and that number reached as high as 3,785 in 1979. Currently, there are 1,942 members, and Mrs. Gloria Harris is the president. One of its main goals has always been to assist in the gift shop project.
“We have a variety of things here from crystals to stuffed animals to jewelry,” said Susy Winters, auxiliary member and volunteer at the gift shop. “It’s always being restocked. Parking is no longer a problem with the newly-built parking lot.”
The gift shop is located right inside the main lobby. Another strong point that Winters points out is that the gift shop is right in town, so a trip to Altoona or State College would not be necessary if someone needed a gift.
“Basically, it was just crafts and things churches made,” Winters said of the beginnings of the shop.
There are still some quality hand-made crafts. However, the gift shop has expanded to such items as cards, figurines, and decorative wall hangings, to name a few.
Winters’ job is to pick out the merchandise for the shop. She is constantly changing the displays to match the holiday seasons. For example, there is always a unique variety of gifts for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or Easter.
The gift shop is managed by Dorothy Davis, and she schedules volunteers to work. All denominations of people are welcome to volunteer and work at the gift shop.
“Everything sold in the gift shop goes back through contributions made by the auxiliary,” said Ann Clark, treasurer of the Epworth Manor Auxiliary. That means whatever money is made at the gift shop is spent on the quality of care for the residents at Epworth.
The auxiliary makes a yearly budget by estimating what different departments need, things that are not included in Epworth’s budget.
For example, the nursing department might need 10 new beds, the cafeteria might need aprons, the library might need large print books.
“We would give the departments things that don’t get covered by their budgets,” added Clark.
The auxiliary then adds up the total cost of these items, and that is its budget for the year. The way the money is raised is through hoagie sales, a candy and cookie sale, Christmas in July, $2 membership fee, and the gift shop.
Activities like taking the residents out to see the fall foliage, driving around to see the Christmas lights, going out to a breakfast, or having an Elvis impersonator come in and sing to residents are just some examples of things also partly funded by the auxiliary.
“We depend mainly on the residents and the help,” said Clark of the people who buy from the gift shop. “That’s why we want to reach out to the community to let them know. A lot of people don’t know unless they have a resident here.”
The gift shop hours are Monday through Saturday, 1-4 p.m. Volunteers are needed. Contact Susy Winters at 684-4597.