News from the Hospitality Shop

In 1950, pediatrician Dr. Oscar Noel Torian asked a group of Sewanee women to help raise funds to furnish the new Children’s Wing of Hodgson Hospital with necessary supplies. Thus was born the Hospital Children’s Aid League which promptly raised $807 for sheets, spreads, pillow cases, blankets, and diapers. The Children’s Wing and equipment had cost $30,000 to build, and was paid forby local donors with a matching grant from the Eli Lilly Drug Company.At a celebratory banquet given for the generosity of the community, Dr. Torian suggested to the Sewanee Woman’s Club the formation of a Women’s Hospital Auxiliary to serve all the work of the hospital.

Just in time for the dedication of the Children’s Wing in 1951 the Auxiliary opened a Surprise Shop to benefit the hospital. Sales were held in Winchester for 10 days in Oct and May. The Auxiliary took A-B-C-D donations to sell in the Surprise Shops. A —Antiques, B — Books, C — Clothing, and D— doo-dads. The final sale was held in May 1966 after raising a total of $75,000 for the hospital during all the years of Surprise Shop sales.

In 1966, the Children’s Aid and Women’s Hospital Auxiliary came together to form the Emerald-Hodgson Auxiliary which continues till today. In 1967, the Auxiliary opened the Hospitality Shop in addition to the volunteer services rendered at the hospital. The first Hospitality Shop was located on South Carolina Avenue and in 1972 it moved to its current location on University Ave. Over the years, proceeds of the Shop’s sales bought equipment such as oxygen tents, new bed rails, heart monitors for the ambulances, the ER Pediatric Crash Cart, Jaws of Life for the Fire Department and many more pieces of equipment.

The Shop has been a presence on campus with monies from sales now going to scholarships for students who plan to go into the medical field, current hospital staff’s continuing education, and helping to furnish the renovated Physical Therapy department. To help ensure that as much money as possible goes to the scholarship program, the University underwrites some of the expenses, but a year and a half ago the Shop did have to pay to have its roof replaced. Again,thanks to the generosity of the community who donate to and buy from the Shop, the Shop has now reimbursed the University for its loan to replace the roof.

2020 has been a particularly trying year with the Shop being closed much of the time. The faithful volunteers who have staffed the Shop have missed greeting old friends and new students who come to make purchases or browse. We know our shoppers have missed the fun of finding a great deal on a needed or frivolous item. There is always a surprise waiting for the patient shopper! We do not know what the future holds for us but we hope we will be back in business in the not too distant future, and we hope you will be there to help us continue the Auxiliary’s business of giving back to the community. New volunteers are always welcome to be a part of the Hospitality Shop. When we are able to reopen, the Messenger will let you know. In the meantime, we ask everyone to keep safe and help the Domain keep Covid cases under control.

The Hospital Auxiliary Board of Directors, Joanne Atwood, June Coker, Pixie Dozier, Laurie Fisher, Elizabeth Koella, April Minkler and Susan Peek