Marj Bekker, one of the founding members of the Grand Forks Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store, celebrates 60 years of volunteering. (Contributed photo to Grand Forks Gazette)

Marj Bekker, one of the founding members of the Grand Forks Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store, celebrates 60 years of volunteering. (Contributed photo to Grand Forks Gazette)

Grand Forks Hospital Auxiliary founding member celebrates 60 years

Grand Forks Hospital Auxiliary is Celebrating the 60-year anniversary of one of its founding members, Marj Bekker.

The Hospital Auxiliary was first formed in the spring of 1946, by a group of 10 women, including Bekker.

Bekker’s last day in the shop was March 6, 2020 and is the last surviving member of these original founders.

The group met in the their basements putting together newborn layettes, which they delivered to the hospital’s nursery. The original thrift shop opened in 1963 in a rented facility three days a week, at that time netting $130 a month.

The Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shop celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013, and from its modest rental space beginnings in 1963, to the ownership of its premises in 1981, it has remained a mainstay in the community.

The auxiliary has grown steadily over the years to a current membership of 100 volunteers, made possible by the thousands of hours of effort by Bekker and others.

Through the generous donations from community and success of the shop, the group is able to contribute much-needed funding for equipment at the hospital and long-term care facilities, as well as support health-related programs within the Boundary and West Kootenay region of Interior Health.

The auxiliary also provide five scholarships of $1,500 each year to local high school graduates seeking a career in the medical services field.

In the last two decades alone, the group has raised millions of dollars and are grateful for the support of the community and the incredible commitment volunteer members give to the thrift shop, just like they did in 1946.

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