JOLIET – If it fits in your car, the Encore Shop will take it.
That’s been the policy for as long as June Hendricksen – a 50-year member of the Silver Cross Advisory Board that operates the resale shop on the former Joliet campus of Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox – can remember.
“People can bring it to us in their cars,” said Hendricksen, 93, of Joliet, “and when people buy it, they can carry it home in their car.”
Each second Friday of every month, Hendricksen and her daughter, Gael Smith of Plainfield, a 24-year member of the advisory board, volunteer their time at the Encore Shop.
Hendricksen prices items; Smith creates displays and revels in the challenge of “working with what I have.”
“Because I can,” is Hendricksen’s reason for continuing her service.
Membership to the Silver Cross Advisory Board is by invitation only, Hendricksen said, with Smith adding that prospective members must have two sponsors. A friend invited Hendricksen in 1964. Hendricksen not only agreed, she brought a few items of her own to donate: pots and pan, some books and a few clothes.
“It was a good way of clearing things out of my house and then selling them at a reasonable price so the hospital would have something nice,” Hendricksen said.
Smith, a widow like her mother, joined the Encore Shop after her children left home for college.
A former member of Childerguild, which supports the obstetrics and pediatric departments at the hospital, Smith wanted to continue volunteering at the hospital both her parents loved.
“They were Silver Cross fans,” Smith said. “Anytime they were hospitalized, it was at Silver Cross.”
When she’s not working at the Encore Shop, Hendricksen prices jewelry from home and knits hats for oncology patients – more than 300 of them in the last five years, Hendricksen said. It’s the ideal project for her, one that allows her to help others and “keep her hands going.”
Smith admires her mother’s creative use of colors and embellishments, like buttons or flowers. Both women belong to a weekly knitting club, Smith said.
Hendricksen learned to knit in high school when she made herself a sweater. Since then, she’s knitted sweaters for both her children, Smith and her son Leif Hendricksen of Plainfield.
Hendricksen has also knitted hats, little coats and sweaters for her grandchildren.
So what changes has Hendricksen seen at the Encore Shop in 50 years? Not many, Hendricksen said.
Donations items remain the same: household goods, clothes, games. Only the type of jewelry is somewhat different.
“When I started, it was mostly clip-on earrings,” Hendricksen said. “Now they’re mostly pierced.”
The Encore Shop raises money for a variety of hospital services and medical equipment, said Tracy Simons, director of marketing and community relations for Silver Cross Hospital.
In the past 11 years the group raised more than $935,000, Simons added.