Auxiliary helps to fund Manchester Memorial Hospital services

By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Thu., Oct. 13, 2011
Harriett Haslett holds the ceremonial check given by the Hospital Auxiliary for $105,000, of which $40,000 was raised by the Penny Saver Thrift Shop. Photos by Martha Marteney.
Harriett Haslett holds the ceremonial check given by the Hospital Auxiliary for $105,000, of which $40,000 was raised by the Penny Saver Thrift Shop. Photos by Martha Marteney.

At the end of September, the Auxiliary of Manchester Memorial Hospital presented $105,000 to the Eastern Connecticut Health Network, with $55,000 dedicated to the room renovations in the Joint Effort wing at MMH, $43,655 set aside for various capital requests and $6,345 donated to the Meg Berte Owen Cancer Survivorship Fund.

According to Nina Kruse, director of development, with the funding from the Auxiliary over the past four years, the hospital has been able to create new patient education materials and begin the renovation of rooms in the Joint Effort wing. The Auxiliary toured three of the newly-renovated rooms on Sept. 19, the day the rooms went into service in the Joint Effort wing.

“We have a growing volume of joint replacement patients,” said Kruse. The hospital currently schedules approximately a dozen knee, hip and shoulder replacements each week. Most of these patients are otherwise healthy, and are able to return to home in a matter of days.

The renovated rooms are designed to feel more like a hotel, with upgraded wall decorations, window finishings and bathroom fixtures. The private rooms in the Joint Effort wing are also larger, to accommodate the special needs and furniture of the joint surgery patients. “We really want our joint patients up and moving,” said Mary Powers, assistant vice president of patient care services. “The nursing staff picked out all the colors,” noted Powers. The hospital plans on using the newly-renovated rooms as the models for on-going upgrades to all the hospital rooms over the next few years.

“It’s beautiful,” said Harriett Haslett, president of the Auxiliary, “if you have to be here.” Members of the Auxiliary were pleased to see what their funding was able to accomplish. “Patient rooms are a direct result from us through our gifting,” noted Haslett.

According to Haslett, this year’s $105,000 gift was funded through the proceeds of the gift shops at MMH and the boutique and café at the John A. DeQuattro Cancer Center, as well as other Auxiliary fundraising efforts. The Auxiliary has committed a five-year pledge in the amount of $293,000 to the Joint Effort wing alone.

The Penny Saver Thrift Shop contributed $40,000 of this year’s $105,000 donation, despite severe damage to the building from last year’s snow accumulation. “Every dollar we bring in here goes right to the Auxiliary,” said George Precurt, general manager of the Penny Saver.

“We’re a thrift-boutique shop,” explained Precurt. The Penny Saver sells clothing, shoes, housewares, artwork, books, toys, games, furniture and jewelry. “We’ve made a total redesign of the store,” said Precurt, “and we’re getting great public reaction.” The store also e-mails weekly updates of sale items and new donations.

All donations made to the Penny Saver are inspected for condition, and any unacceptable merchandise is not sold through the shop, but rather is processed through other non-profit organizations. Precurt also noted that the merchandise is turned over every month, either through sales or the items are donated to other organizations. Donations are accepted during store hours, or by appointment after hours.

“It’s a fun place to work,” said Precurt, “because it’s never the same each day, and it’s very community-oriented. On that note, Precurt issued a call for volunteers to assist the four part-time staffers and him in the general operation of the store.

The Penny Saver Thrift Shop is located at 319 Broad St. and is open Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For the months of October, November and December, Thursday hours are extended to 6 p.m. For more information about the shop, donating or volunteering, call 860-649-3297 or e-mail

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