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Hope Chest celebrates anniversary, National Hospice Month with sales

By Staff | Nov 14, 2008

If you are looking for great bargains and to help a great cause, stop by the Hope Chest resale shop in North Fort Myers this week. In honor of its five-year anniversary at the Cleveland Avenue location and National Hospice Month, the store is offering special discounts through Saturday.

It is Buy One Get One Free today on jewelry. On Friday it is 50 percent off collectibles and 70 percent off household items, and there is a sidewalk sale and dollar day — all clothing $1 — on Saturday.

With 30,000 square feet of floor space, there is a tremendous number of items to choose from.

“It’s such a great store because it’s so big. This was formally a Publix supermarket,” said Hope Hospice Community Relations Director John Stickling. “There’s a lot of square footage that gives us a lot of room for great merchandise and everyone that shops at the Hope Chest is making a contribution to the community.”

“Hope Chest is an asset to the operation of Hope Hospice as well as to the community,” added Samira K. Beckwith, Hope president and chief executive officer. “The community has been very kind to us with their donations of high-quality merchandise for resale. The proceeds from all sales benefit our hospice patients and their families.”

Hope Hospice provides a variety of services, the organization itself growing after being started 30 years ago by volunteers with hospice as a single program. Today the organization offers numerous programs, encompassing a variety of services to meet the physical, social, emotional and practical needs involved with end-of-life care. It benefits individuals and their families.

“It has grown tremendously,” said store manager Jane Davis of the history of the shop itself on its fifth anniversary at the location. “It started in a small boutique in the American Plaza in Fort Myers, then moved to the Metropolis Center on Metro Parkway and then we outgrew that location. I don’t think we’ll outgrow this one.”

Davis said one of the reasons for the growth is the support the organization receives from those it has supported.

“It’s an outlet for the community,” she said. “If someone can’t make a monetary donation to us, they donate say mom’s furniture or clothing. They benefit from the ability to give to hospice and we benefit from the income going back to the patient and families.”

Volunteer cashier Pat Ridout said that support is why she gives her time to the shop.

“They took such wonderful care of my husband and I wanted to give back and give to the community,” she said. “There are wonderful bargains here and wonderful people I’ve met. I love all the little treasures you find here.”

Fellow volunteer Edna Miller agrees.

“I can’t explain how much they did for us,” she said. “They had a chaplain, social worker, anything you needed, even visited me after my husband passed away. I can’t say enough about the wonderful support.”

“We take everything,” said Davis of donations.

The store prefers not to sell computers or appliances because of unreliability of the appliances and the outdating of computers — but there are so many things in the large space.

There is a wide array of furniture, clothing, sporting equipment, household items, some medical equipment and more.

“We have sales every day, but for the anniversary we wanted to do something different,” said Davis.

Call the store any day to hear the sales’ specifics for that day.

“There’s an entire Book Nook and a Holiday House,” said Davis of the extensive number of items in those special areas of the store — each has its own room. “The Holiday House has a large variety of Christmas items that are 50 percent off all the time. The items range from wreaths to ornaments, to lights to trees.”

Beside the sales, the store recently celebrated the special occasions by installing a huge aluminum sign over the building that gives it a whole new look.

The purpose of National Hospice Month each November is to raise awareness of the medical, emotional and spiritual support available through hospice.

“Hope provides quality care and is focused on living life as fully as possible. Each of our programs offers ‘hope’ in its own special way,” said Beckwith. “These programs and services are now provided under the umbrella of ‘Hope HealthCare Services.’

“Hope HealthCare Services’ encompasses all of our care programs and represents who we are today, serving 2,000 people daily in an eight-county area,” she continued.

Beckwith added that each person is still cared for as an individual, with their own unique needs.

“Hope is the core of all of our programs and the core of our mission,” she said.

The Hope Chest is located at 13821 North Cleveland Ave. in North Fort Myers. Store hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. -4 p.m. For information or daily sales, call 652-1114.