When the renovated gift shop at TAMC’s A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital opened in its new location in the fall of 2014, it was given a new name to better fit its new look, Country Heart Gift Shop. The name encompassed more than just the new image of the store, but also a commitment to have a “heart for giving,” and that vision came full circle recently with a donation to the County Dialysis Center.

“We felt we wanted our new store to have an even greater purposeful heart behind it,” explained Sherry Beaulieu, store manager. “We chose TAMC County Dialysis Center as we recognized that giving back to a service that is desperately in need by its patients and our community was the perfect fit for our store’s cause. We recognized the financial strains it takes to keep such a critical service viable.”

Having such a worthy cause to support not only made employees and volunteers who staff the store feel good but customers as well, according to Beaulieu.

“We wanted customers to feel good about making a purchase in our store and our volunteers to feel like their donated time volunteering was purposeful and with meaning. Whenever we thank a patron of the store for shopping with us, we let them know that they just helped to support our Dialysis Center and dialysis patients. You can see the warm feeling of pride coming over them and a big smile knowing that they just contributed to something important for the wellbeing of others,” she said.

Those proceeds added up over the course of the year, and a gift of $39,078 was recently presented to the County Dialysis Center on behalf of the Country Heart Gift Shop.

On hand for the ceremonial presentation were, from left: Pamela Frank, manager of County Dialysis Center; Eugene Curtis, TAMC director of support services; Sherry Beaulieu, manager of the Country Heart Gift Shop; James McKenney, TAMC vice president of support services; and Amanda Bonville, guest relations specialist, who also works in the gift shop.

“This gift is so appreciated,” said Pamela Frank, manager of the County Dialysis Center. “We have more than 50 patients who travel from all over Aroostook County to come here multiple times a week for life-sustaining treatment. Without the center, they would have to travel to Lincoln or Bangor for treatment. Having a dialysis center close to home allows patients to receive local care while having the support network of their families and friends.”

Frank says the funds will be used to replace aging equipment and for providing comfort to patients who spend much of their time receiving treatments.

“These patients spend a great deal of time at the dialysis unit, approximately five hours total, three times a week. Having comfortable chairs and reliable, up-to-date equipment will help enhance their comfort and safety,” she explained.

After the success of this first year, the leaders of the gift shop have chosen to continue dedicating store revenues toward the County Dialysis Center in 2016.

“County Dialysis Center is a service that is operated at a loss each year, but it is a unit that this community desperately needs,” said Eugene Curtis, TAMC director of support services. “We want to continue to support this important service and the patients that they help.”

For those unfamiliar with the store, Beaulieu points out that the Country Heart Gift Shop is more than just a place to purchase gifts for patients. It offers everything from Starbucks coffee to silk florals and primitive décor. Visitors can purchase a variety of packages and prepared gourmet food products from Stonewall Kitchen and Deli Muffins, or gourmet fudges and chocolates from Abdallah and Marich. The store also has various artwork, Willow Tree collectable figurines, Silver Forest jewelry and garden décor among other items.

The gift shop, located just off the main lobby of the hospital, is open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily.

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