For more than 30 years, the North Arkansas Regional Medical Center (NARMC) Auxiliary Thrift Store in Harrison has been a light for many in more ways than one can imagine. Not only can you find great deals and special treasures at the Auxiliary Thrift Store, but more importantly, all of the funds from the store stay local to benefit our community.
In 1986, the NARMC Auxiliary Thrift Store first opened in a little, white two bedroom house on the corner of Spring and Bower Street, located where the Emergency Room parking lot currently sits. Six Auxiliary members volunteered to get the store up and running.
In 1995, the thrift store moved to its current location on Main Street in downtown Harrison. After the move, the Auxiliary Thrift Store volunteers noticed an increase of donated items. The store expanded three years later to accommodate a men’s area and multiple dressing rooms, with a children’s section following soon after. Five years ago, a dish room, work space, storage and dock/drop off area were added. These expansions were funded solely by Auxiliary Thrift Store sales. Currently, the store is undergoing a facelift, complete with new signage, paint, flooring and awning.
Today, the NARMC Auxiliary organizes around 130 volunteers that donate thousands of volunteer hours each month. These men and women give their time to man information desks, assist in the Auxiliary Thrift Store and Gift Shop, oversee the Comfort Cart, spend time with patients and work on other special projects. In the last year, the Hospital Auxiliary has donated more than 29,450 hours of volunteer time. Each of the volunteers at the Auxiliary Thrift Store have a story to share about why they give their time.
Some of the Auxiliary volunteers have been donating their time for decades. Kathy Fox, a retired NARMC RN, began volunteering over 20 years ago. In January 2017, her daughter, Addie DeLopez, moved to Arkansas to care for Kathy. This is when she decided to join her mother in volunteering for the Auxiliary Thrift Store. Now, the pair can be found at the store a few days a week. Addie commonly sorts through and cleans the donations, while Kathy irons the clothing before it hits the store floor. Every now and then, the two use their quilting skills to repair donations. When asked why they do it, the ladies answered that they enjoy spending time together while giving back to the community.
“This is the best job I’ve ever had,” Addie said. “They are the nicest people I have ever worked with. It’s hard not to want to go. I really like it!”
The money raised at the Auxiliary Thrift Store benefits not only NARMC, but also our community. In recent years, the Auxiliary Thrift Store has donated more than $1 million to NARMC. In 30 plus years, the Auxiliary Thrift Store has raised money to purchase necessary equipment to support the mission of NARMC and the community. This equipment includes new wheelchairs, the Nuclear Imagine Machine, Respiratory Therapy Units, patient blanket warmers and so much more. This updated equipment has allowed the NARMC team to help improve the lives of thousands of people in our community. Recently, the Auxiliary Thrift Store also helped fund NARMC’s new ambulance shed, as well as other NARMC vehicles. Also, the NARMC Auxiliary offers scholarships to area graduates every year and donates to 20 is Plenty annually. Funds from the Auxiliary Thrift Store are funneled right back in to the community in as many ways as possible.
Currently, the NARMC Auxiliary Thrift Store is accepting both material and monetary donations. Stop by our location just up from the square in Harrison to view the new renovations and be sure to say hello to the volunteers who work hard to ensure that our Auxiliary Thrift Store helps our community in the most valuable ways.