Auxiliary Appealing for New Members to Keep up Good Deeds

The UConn Health Auxiliary's Connucopia Gift Shop is in its new home, on the mezzanine of the new University Tower. (Photo by Janine Gelineau)

What do the Connucopia Gift Shop, the Creative Child Center, UConn Health’s art collection, and the patient education floors in the Outpatient Pavilion have in common?

In addition to the gift shop in the new tower, the Auxliary has a gift shop kiosk on the first floor of the Outpatient Pavilion, staffed here by Maureen Parrish. (Photo by Janine Gelineau)
In addition to the gift shop in the new tower, the Auxliary has a gift shop kiosk on the first floor of the Outpatient Pavilion, staffed here by Maureen Parrish. (Photo by Janine Gelineau)

They were all made possible by the UConn Health Auxiliary, a small group of dedicated volunteers whose efforts help raise money for those and other programs to benefit the UConn Health community.

Thanks to the Auxiliary:

  • Financial assistance is available to patients whose medical bills have stretched their budget.
  • Medical and dental students have received scholarships and educational travel funds.
  • Patients have access to information kiosks and notebook computers to retrieve health information during their visit to the Outpatient Pavilion.
  • The Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at UConn Health is equipped with webcams to enable parents (and anyone with permission from the parents) to see the infant in the NICU at any time via a secure internet connection.
  • Parents can stay close by at the Homewood Suites while their child is cared for in the NICU.
  • The UConn Health Auxiliary/Joseph M. Healey Jr. Chair in Medical Humanities and Bioethics was endowed in 2006, with a $900,000 pledge from the Auxiliary.
  • Patients, visitors, students and staff can patronize a variety of small businesses that offer their wares at UConn Health as visiting vendors.
The Holiday Bazaar is one of the Auxiliary's biggest annual fundraisers. (Photo by Janine Gelineau)
The Holiday Bazaar is one of the Auxiliary’s biggest annual fundraisers. (Photo by Janine Gelineau)

“With the new hospital tower now open, this is an exciting time at UConn Health,” says Auxiliary facilitator Irene Engel. “We have a beautiful new gift shop on the mezzanine of the new hospital, and a kiosk on the first floor of the Outpatient Pavilion. These shops, plus our thrift shop in West Hartford and the fundraising events we hold throughout the year, allow us to continue to support the programs that have been counting on us.”

And now the Auxiliary is counting on an influx of new members, and a recommitment from past and current members.

From left: Georgia Riberdy, Auxiliary Facilitator Irene Engel, and Annarita Erwin staff the Spring Market, another of the Auxiliary's biggest annual fundraisers. (Photo by Janine Gelineau)
From left: Georgia Riberdy, Auxiliary Facilitator Irene Engel, and Annarita Erwin staff the Spring Market, another of the Auxiliary’s biggest annual fundraisers. (Photo by Janine Gelineau)

“It didn’t take long for me to gain an understanding of how invaluable the Auxiliary is to the fabric of UConn Health,” says Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, UConn Health CEO and EVP for health affairs. “The Auxiliary has accomplished so much, and brought so many outstanding programs and services over the years, it is easy to see why they’re known as ‘The Good Deeds People.’ We all should support the Auxiliary at any chance we get, not only to help them continue their great work, but also to acknowledge that work and show our gratitude. Becoming a member is a terrific way to do that.”

“The reality is, our gift shops are struggling, likely because people aren’t used to the new locations,” Engel says. “And our membership dues haven’t been coming in like they used to.”

The Auxiliary contributed $2,500 to a $4,000 award from the Farmington Rotary Club to provide a travel funds for Artists for World Peace that will enable three UConn dental students to do mission work in Tanzania next year. (Photo provided by Irene Engel)
The Auxiliary contributed $2,500 to a $4,000 award from the Farmington Rotary Club to provide a travel funds for Artists for World Peace that will enable three UConn dental students to do mission work in Tanzania next year. (Photo provided by Irene Engel)

It’s about more than money. The Auxiliary relies on volunteers to keep the gift and thrift shops operating, and to organize and run other events like the Holiday Bazaar, the Spring Market, fashion shows, and book and cookie sales.

“Our mission has always been to carry out good deeds that benefit the UConn Health community, whether it’s helping women get mammograms, assisting patients who can’t afford their meds or need transportation to an appointment, financial aid for medical, dental, and nursing students, cameras in the NICU, offering patient education areas in the Outpatient Pavilion, or endowing a chair,” Engel says. “To continue that mission we need involved members and their time, talents and treasures.”

More information about becoming a member is available at bit.ly/joinAux, or by calling Margo Granger at 860.679.3989.

Thrift Shop Offers Last-minute Bargains Looking for some affordable last-minute decorations or holiday apparel? The UConn Health Auxiliary Thrift Shop is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. thru Dec. 23. The Thrift Shop is located in West Hartford, at 270 Park Road. To learn more about the Thrift Shop, including how to donate new or gently used items—including perhaps unwanted holiday gifts—call 860.586.8047.
Thrift Shop Offers Last-minute Bargains: Looking for some affordable last-minute decorations or holiday apparel? The UConn Health Auxiliary Thrift Shop is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. thru Dec. 23. It’s located in West Hartford, at 270 Park Road. To learn more about the Thrift Shop, including how to donate new or gently used items—including perhaps unwanted holiday gifts—call 860.586.8047. (Photo by Chris DeFrancesco)