Look Nook

MONROE COUNTY HOSPITAL AND CLINIC’S Gale Herrera and Jan Starcevic stand at the counter of The Look Nook gift shop. The shop now takes credit cards as well as cash and checks. Right now the shop is filled with Christmas items.

Next Tuesday Monroe County Hospital and Clinics Foundation will have a Christmas luncheon for volunteers active in the auxiliary. Of that group around 35 are the key component to a Foundation fund-raising machine called The Look Nook.

Most hospitals have a gift shop, some privately operated and many, like Monroe County’s staffed by volunteers. The hospital’s head nurse, Gale Herrera, who has much experience in operating both her own and her hospital’s gift shops, serves at the shop’s buyer, going to Minneapolis a couple of times a year with two other women to buy seasonal products.

A lot of the gifts stocked by The Look Nook are there for people to purchase for friends and relatives with medical stays at the hospital. Most, though, are for birthdays, Christmas and other occasions. It is also a comfort station for family whose loved ones are in difficult medical situation. Herrera met a lady whose husband was hospitalized and was grateful to have somewhere to go to get her mind off his illness.

Last week, when the Christmas merchandise was placed in the shop, the gross revenue was $5,300. That day alone would go a long way in purchasing equipment for the hospital, like a mixer that cost $5,000 bought by the auxiliary for the hospital’s food service. All profits from the shop go to the hospital.

While not exactly Amazon in size and scope, the gift shop does have a Facebook page and Susan Mordan, daughter of auxiliary volunteer Margaret Mordan, was able to call her mother and tell her what she wanted and have her send it to Washington, D.C.

The shop’s inventory is eclectic to say the least--from pepper spray to men’s slippers, stocking hats to cookie jars and Iowa, Iowa State and UNI gift items. The shop is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and until 7 p.m. on Thursday during the Christmas season.

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