Patients unexpectedly at Carle don’t want to leave in a hospital gown. Thankfully, the Carle Auxiliary Resale Boutique clothes them for free.
“I recently had a patient who was homeless and had multiple visits to the Emergency Department within a short amount of time. He required much encouragement, as he was in a mental space of defeat, and he was very discouraged,” social worker LaShonda Gladney said.
“He told me he had a job interview coming up. Unfortunately, he didn’t have proper attire,” she said.
The resale boutique dressed the man at no cost.
The shop relies on donations of clothes, books, household items and more, which people can drop off from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Today, the shop especially needs children’s and men’s clothing to best serve patients in need, as well as new shoppers and boutique regulars.
“The women at the shop helped him pick out the clothing, guided him on the proper way to wear the clothing, and they also gave tips for the interview,” Gladney said. “He left the building with a stride of confidence that I had not seen from him previously, and I believe that the experience in the resale boutique had the potential to change him – all because of the teamwork that day.”
Many times doctors, nurses and others on care teams must cut off patients’ clothing after an accident to provide emergency care quickly. They can tell staff social workers about patients who need clothing with just a phone call.
From there, the resale boutique does the rest.
“I cannot count the numerous times their staff have come to the aid of folks in need to provide them with basic items, items which sometimes get taken for granted. Folks who have not even one pair of pants, a shirt, shoes, or even a coat to go outside in during negative-degree temperatures,” social worker McKayla Weis said.
Social worker Allison Hansen said patients react with gratitude.
“They express total relief and appreciation that someone helped them out and that all they have to focus on is getting healthy,” Hansen said.
Resale boutique Manager Shelley Williams’ team receives calls from social workers daily.
“Patients don’t always plan to be here. Sometimes, they find themselves with us for the long-term, and the clothes they brought with no longer work – like if you now have to fit pants over a cast or you need sweatpants for rehabilitation and you arrived in a dress,” Williams said.
The main purpose of the resale boutique is financial support for the Carle Auxiliary Guest House and student scholarships, but this service extends the generosity of community donors.
“As healthcare facility, this is one more way we can meet patients’ needs because we have this resource available,” Williams said. “Donations from community help in many ways – first by raising money and second by meeting a basic need for patients in a jam.”