The Guilded Rose Gift Shop seeks new volunteers

Photo provided by Ronda Bogan Superior Search and Rescue representatives receive a $4,000 grant from Ronda Bogan (right) and the Portage Health Auxiliary in 2019.

HANCOCK — If you have ever walked through the UP Health System – Portage hospital in Hancock, then you probably noticed the Guilded Rose Gift Shop in the building’s main lobby.

Open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each weekday, the shop’s merchandise includes fresh flowers, jewelry, baby supplies, cards, candy, snacks, and other gift items.

What hospital visitors may not know is that the Guilded Rose is staffed entirely by volunteers, and all proceeds generated by the shop are donated to local nonprofit organizations or used to fund scholarships.

While space for the gift shop is donated by the hospital, the shop itself is operated by Portage Health Auxiliary, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

“Since the fall of 2016, we’ve dispersed over $200,000 to 50 local nonprofit organizations that meet our criteria,” said Ronda Bogan, a volunteer who has worked for the gift shop for more than 30 years. “Our criteria is to help the well being and health of the youth and the seniors in this four-county area — Baraga, Ontonagon, Keweenaw and Houghton.”

Grant recipients include Superior Search and Rescue, Simple Kindness for Youth (SKY), Copper Country Autism Awareness, and the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce for its ‘Let’s Eat’ program. The organization accepts applications for grant funding, and distributes grants twice each year.

“I love it because I love the people, and I love what we’re doing. We’re keeping the money in the community and that’s so badly needed,” Bogan said.

The Guilded Rose is now looking for fresh volunteers to help staff the gift shop. Although the shop has a dedicated group of volunteers, lately it has found itself in need of additional support.

“We’re operating that shop on probably five, six volunteers at the most,” Bogan explained. “If we don’t get the volunteers, it’s hard to keep the shop open.”

In addition to contributing to the Auxiliary’s philanthropic mission, gift shop volunteers engage with the community during their shifts at the Guilded Rose.

“It’s great to work there because people come in and they just want to talk,” said Bogan. “Maybe they have somebody they know that’s a patient or they’re coming up there for chemo or for kidney dialysis.

We try to keep it kind of upbeat, where people can step in and get a card, or a birthday gift, or they can order flowers to send to a patient,” she continued. “I think everybody that works in there really believes in it and loves it and they love the people that come in.”

Individuals interested in volunteering at the Guilded Rose can call the gift shop at 906-483-1565 or contact the UP Health System Portage hospital’s human resources department.


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