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Red Thread Gift Shop spreads holiday cheer for Calgary hospital patients, staff


The Red Thread Gift Shop at the Peter Lougheed Centre offers a variety of basic items for patients and their families, but its team of volunteers is also providing a sense of warmth, comfort and love this holiday season.

The store features a wide selection of gifts, snacks and toiletries for sale with every purchase made supporting hospital support programs that focus on patient care along with new hospital equipment.

"It’s been my go-to place every single day because I’m all alone in Alberta and all the different volunteers are always smiling, they've been so friendly and helpful," said Cheryl Schultz.

Schultz was admitted into the emergency room recently with a sinus infection, but she's used her brief time outside of a hospital bed to interact with the volunteers who are supporting her during her stay.

"I come down and I buy little knickknacks for myself, I buy little beauty treatments for myself, but the team here has also inspired me to buy 'get well' cards for my roommate who is struggling right now as well as 'thank you' cards for the staff and doctors here."

Volunteers at the Red Thread Gift Shop locations at the Peter Lougheed Centre, Foothills Medical Centre and Rockyview General Hospital are providing holiday cheer ti patients, visitors and staff.

Stephanie, a Red Thread Gift Shop customer, says the volunteers have helped her find the perfect gift for her mother who is in hospital.

"My mom wasn’t eating well, but we found these special chocolate cookies here that she loves, so now I keep coming back," said Stephanie.

"It's just kind of a release to look around and interact with others. I just hope that all the patients can be home for Christmas and that they will get better," she added while wiping away a tear.

It's moments like this that define the hard work of volunteers at the Red Thread Gift Shop, including Randy Tri who has given more than 300 hours of his time since 2019.

The 20-year-old hopes to one day become a radiation therapist and says the compassionate customer service interactions at the store will help him become a better medical professional.

"It’s really inspiring to speak with these patients, to be able to know that we’re helping our hospital, but also giving back to our community," said Tri.

"A lot of our customers are nurses and doctors too that are leaving a stressful environment so even just checking on them and asking how they're doing can make a big difference."

Volunteer coordinator Megan Ko says her team is continuing to look for volunteers willing to lend a helping hand, noting that the experience of working with others goes a long way for any future career opportunity.

"This program shows that there's always somebody willing to help," explained Ko. "We’re providing a really safe space for our patients and visitors and even hospital staff just to take a break from the day-to-day stress of being in the hospital."

The Red Thread Gift Shop is located at the Peter Lougheed Centre with two other locations at the Rockyview General Hospital and Foothills Medical Centre.

All of the gift shops are open seven days a week. Top Stories

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