A closer look at Community Health Services: Friends Gift Shops

February 24, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees

This is one in a series of stories highlighting the various segments of Community Health Services.

Friends Gift Shops are a group of not-for-profit retail endeavors developed by volunteers to meet the needs of staff, patients and their families. The day-to-day operation of the Friends Gift Shops are performed by a combination of volunteers and paid staff members.

The shops — which have proudly served the community since 1959 — fulfill their mission by providing the most in-demand products and services on the medical campus. Whether offering flowers for patients and loved ones, snacks and gifts for patients while awaiting world-class medical care, or everyday sundries for committed faculty and staff, the Friends Gift Shops occupy a vital role. 

After expenses, all proceeds are awarded — through an application process — to fund projects and programs that support meeting the ever-changing needs of the Michigan Medicine family. 

Join the Friends family

There are different ways of becoming a part of the Friends organization. You can volunteer to work in the gift shop (on hold during COVID-19), or you can volunteer to serve on the advisory board or any committee that guides the board in their actions. 

Roger Lidgard, a Friends Gift Shop employee, recently shared his experience with the organization:

“I joined the gift shop in November 1999 and have been with them for 21 years,” Lidgard said. “In that time, I have seen it grow and expand into the four shops that it is today. I have also seen first-hand all the good it does for the hospital and the community.”

He said that’s what drew him to the shops in the first place.

“I had known about Friends through my father, Dean Lidgard, who worked in administration at Mott,” Lidgard said. “Growing up around the hospital while he was working, I would often visit the shop and learned how they gave back to the hospital, and even volunteered at some events that were sponsored by Friends.

“Once I started working there, I got to see the results of all that they do. From teddy bears for children who arrive here by Survival Flight, to watching a video of kids on ventilators climbing a tree for the first time, thanks to money Friends gave to build a tree house, the benefits have been small and huge. It gives me an overwhelming sense of pride to know, in some small way, I was a part of making things like that happen.”

Supported program grant recipients thus far this fiscal year FY21

  • 7W Adult BMT/8E Adult Hem/Onc 
  • Child and Family Life 
  • Gifts of Art 
  • Neurosurgery 
  • Office of Decedent Affairs SW 
  • Office of Patient Experience 
  • Patient Education Awards Committee 
  • Social Work GAP 
  • UMHS Community Health Services 

Website: www.UofMHealth.org/Friends

Link to U-M funding opportunities: https://www.uofmhealth.org/patient-visitor-guide/friends/apply-funding

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