I have a pricey necklace that I bought at a swanky jewelry party earlier this year. It caught my eye because it has ruby red and bronze colored one-fourth inch and one-half inch beads strung on two strands of tiny bronze beads. A ruby red disc with a cut-out in the middle hangs at the bottom of the strands.
It was disappointing to learn that no earrings came with the necklace, but it’s my birthstone color so I bought it anyway.
You’ll never guess where I found earrings to match to a T – in the Altru Alliance Gift Shop located on the lobby floor of Altru Hospital in Grand Forks. These striking ($9.98) earrings were meant to team up with this costly necklace. They are perfect together.
This is not the first treasure I’ve found in the Altru Alliance Gift Shop. Let me tell you of another – a simple but matchless greeting card.
I happened to be in the gift shop one day about the time my church choir was to sadly say goodbye to Bethany and Levi Andrist. For two seasons, Bethany had been our director and Levi had been one of our basses. They were moving to Bismarck and we needed to send them off with a card that carried the signatures and sentiments of us all.
The one I found in the Altru Alliance Gift Shop was beyond compare. It showed from the back side (cheeks and all) a line-up of curly topped, non-diapered, heavily dimpled babies. The caption read: “We can’t bare the fact that you are leaving us behind.”
I’m drawn to Altru Alliance’s gift shop and stop in even when I’m not on my way up to visit someone hospitalized. Since learning how the Alliances disperses its profits, I’m even more delighted to spend my money there. Not only do they have great jewelry, they have beautiful scarves and clothing. Everytime I’m there I see something new and intriguing.
Altru Alliance is a long-standing organization that has, over the years, provided substantial financial support to Altru Health System. Through the gift shop and other fund raisers, the Alliance provides money for programs and supplies or equipment that benefit hospital patients and their families. Men and women from the community are invited to become Alliance members. Yearly dues are $10. If interested call: (701) 780-5299.
I was blown away when I learned that in 2004, Altru Alliance reached the milestone of giving $2 million in gifts to Altru Health System and the community. In 2009 alone, the total was $106,451.63. Here’s that breakdown:
Caring Bridge, $3,000; patient belonging bags, $8,000; education materials for psychiatry; $500; arts and crafts for Child Life, $300; Pastoral Services, $1,800; ICU, $1,700; SCCU, $4,200; Social Work, $29,000; Home Delivered Meals, $10,000; Volunteer Services, $1,800; Flower Program, $763.63; Environmental Services, $1,750; Safe Kids, $2,000; OB/GYN, $4,000; Emergency Outpatient Department, $1,700; Altru Clinic in Crookston; $500; Cancer Center, $5,000; Pediatrics, $5,000; Rehab, $615; Prosthetics/Orthotics, $200; Ambulatory Center, $500; Cardiology, $2,150; Physicians services, $200; Parkwood Place, $200; Altru Alliance Scholarships (awarded annually to post-secondary students in healthcare related fields) , $7,500; Donor Wall, $12,000; Lutheran Social Services, $2,100.
Susan Alexander has been manager of the gift shop for 22 years. She applied, along with 77 others and “I got the job,” she said. “I was chosen and I just feel blessed. It makes me feel happy to be working here. It’s not just a store at the mall. You are helping somebody every time you come in to shop.”
Susan has 35 volunteers who come in each week to work four hour shifts. To keep the shelves stocked with exceptional items, she goes to main market in Minneapolis once a year.
“And sales reps come through every month,” she said. “I get freight just about every day.”
One day, in that freight, were the earrings meant for me.