Say, who are the people in your neighbourhood? The people that you meet each day when you’re walking down the street. A HOB volunteer is definitely one you will meet, when you are walking down 41st Avenue or West Broadway. They are the people you will meet each day when planning to shop along the way.
Chances are if you live on the West Side of Vancouver you have likely met one of the many HOB (Hospice Opportunity Boutique) volunteers. They are a dedicated group of men and women who donate their time in one of the three charity shops that help to support the Vancouver Hospice Society (VHS).
Incorporated as a non-profit charitable organization in 2003, VHS advocates for people and families facing end-of-life issues. In 2014, after 10 years of fundraising through the charity shops, events and the support of generous donors, they were able to build their hospice which is located on Granville Street in Vancouver. They are incredibly grateful to their many supporters and donors.
According to Corry Chaplin, the VHS Administrative Coordinator, “the steady stream of funds we receive from items donated by generous members of the public is absolutely essential to the work we do at the hospice. In fact, we would not be here at all without the funds that were raised over the years to build and maintain the hospice. These funds have directly supported operations at our 8-bed hospice, as well as vital programs such as Counselling & Bereavement, Home Hospice Volunteers, and our volunteer program in general.”There are currently two stores (but there were three at one point), all a 100% volunteer operated and each one has its own committee that oversees daily operations and their own team of 60-90 volunteers. All stores rely completely on donations and it is estimated that net revenues generated by the three HOB stores cover approximately 35% of the total operating budget of the Vancouver Hospice.Each store has its own unique focus that aesthetically reflects the community in which they are located. The original Hospice Opportunity Boutique (HOB), which opened its doors on Dunbar Street well over 10 years ago selling “high quality gently used women’s clothing and accessories”, is now located in Kerrisdale (2236 West 41st Ave.).Louise Delancey and Pam Donald are two long time HOB Thrift Boutique volunteers who passionately believe in giving back to the community and in supporting the Hospice Society, each bringing in her own set of skills to the process. The store, which looks like an upscale boutique, is well organized with everything being grouped by colours and always with in-season items. “I like to stay on top of current fashion trends,” says Donald who helps to manage all the donations that come in. “The number one thing that we sell are tops and scarves…but women also get excited by our large selection of shoes and handbags.” And then Louise Delancey’s job is to then let people know what has come in and about all upcoming events and sales.HOB TOO was the second storefront to open, also on Dunbar Street. (Now you can now find it located at 3626 West Broadway). Here you will find “high quality new and nearly new household collectibles.” Volunteers at this location manage all the donations, thoughtfully sorting and pricing items as they come in. There are specific volunteers with expertise in certain areas who help to price some of the more collectible pieces. Their window displays are always highly anticipated as they carefully plan each with specific items which are then also sold after being on display for two weeks. As well vintage linens, silver, china, crystal, pottery, jewellery, Royal Dalton figurines and memorabilia, you can also find retro housewares, books, and so much more.The newest addition, HOB TOO FURNITURE opened July 2016 only a few doors down from HOB TOO. Now you can now also find it located at 3626 West Broadway. This store carries larger pieces of furniture as well art, carpets and lamps. There is always an eclectic selection of items based on what is being donated. Long time volunteers Janice Copeland and Marg MacLennan enjoy coming in for their shifts as they never know what they will find as it is always changing.So make sure next time you are over on the West Side in Vancouver to take the time to pop in to one of these wonderful thrift shops and don’t forget to say hello to the volunteers who make this neighbourhood a fun thrift shopping destination.
If you are interested in volunteering, they are always looking for more people to help. In particular The HOB is looking for help with marketing and social media, sorting/steaming/cleaning, and a photographer to help take photos of some of their events.
Hospice Opportunity Boutique (The HOB)
2236 West 41st Ave (between Vine St. and Yew St.)
HOB TOO Thrift Shop
3626 West Broadway