ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Gifts from the Heart, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital’s gift shop, presented Phoebe Foundation with a check for $350,000 on Thursday.
After operating costs are covered, all proceeds from the store go to support the foundation each year.
“We are incredibly grateful to the dedicated staff and volunteers who operate our gift shop, and to all our visitors and Phoebe Family members who support Gifts from the Heart. This is the largest donation we’ve ever received from the shop, and it will allow us to purchase equipment and support services that will benefit Phoebe patients,” said Carolyn Higgins, Phoebe Foundation president and chief fundraising officer.
Even though the gift shop was closed for a month during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and still has not returned to normal hours of operation, fiscal year 2020 was the store’s most successful year ever, according to Phoebe.
Phoebe officials said this year’s donation represents a 60 percent increase over last year’s gift shop proceeds.
“We try to make this a fun place for people to visit and shop, and we work hard to stock a wide variety of popular merchandise. We did a 12 Days of Christmas promotion during the holidays that was extremely successful, and customers have really supported us lately, even though we only have limited hours. Their loyalty allowed us to have such a successful year, and we’re pleased to assist our patients by providing this large donation to the foundation,” Ginger Jenkins, gift shop manager, said.
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital CEO Joe Austin praised the gift shop staff for the safe and welcoming atmosphere they create.
“People come in here for a reason. People are ready to shop because it feels normal. The staff has done a great job of following safety protocols and encouraging customers to return since reopening. It takes a lot of hard work to run a gift shop this successfully, and they’ve done a great job,” Austin said.
Phoebe volunteers usually play a vital role in operating the shop, but volunteers have been asked to stay away from the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Phoebe.
The gift shop will return to full operation once volunteers return.
Currently, the shop is open Monday-Friday, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.