One of Alton Memorial Hospital’s best-kept secrets has always been Miss Eunice’s Hatbox, the hospital gift shop. But the secret has been leaked, and the gift shop continues to be a destination for all the shop-a-holics in the community.

Combined with the Starbucks coffee bar in the adjacent Duncan Wing hallway as well as free valet parking, enjoying some time in the gift shop’s 1,500 square feet is a pleasant diversion for visitors – even a destination in itself.

            “We are a full service boutique specializing in seasonal gifts, a great baby department, and women’s apparel including jewelry, scarves and purses,” said Susie Bechtold, manager of Miss Eunice’s Hatbox. “And our Christmas Shop is a must see.”

            Come experience the magic of Miss Eunice’s Winter Wonderland during an open house from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19. Stop in for a Christmas treat and sign up for one of many giveaways offered with purchase. Gift wrap will be offered to assist you in scratching off one more name from your Christmas shopping list.

“And don’t forget us for all your fresh flower needs,” Bechtold said. “We partner with Walter Knoll Florist of St. Louis.”

Miss Eunice’s Hatbox is one of the many fund-raising efforts sponsored by the AMH White Cross Auxiliary. Thanks to the support of hospital staff and the community, last year’s proceeds enabled the Auxiliary to fund a total of $61,500 in equipment and services for the hospital, its patients and visitors.

Those items included:

-An EKG machine for the Lab and Cardiology ($15,000);

-A hydraulic stretcher for EMS ($12,000);

-A bilimeter machine with cart for the Women’s Health and Childbirth Center ($9,000); A bilimeter is the point of care device for determining bilirubin concentration in the serum of newborns. Newborn jaundice can occur when babies have a high level of bilirubin, a yellow
pigment produced during normal breakdown of red blood 

-Sleep sacks for newborns ($4,800);

-A pro press tool for plant operations ($3,400);

-A sleeper sofa for Eunice Smith Home ($2,000);

-$6,000 to Social Services for prescription assistance and transportation;

-$3,000 for coffee in the Surgery and Digestive Health Center waiting rooms.

“We are very grateful to the Auxiliary for their help in purchasing the hydraulic stretchers for our EMS personnel,” said Jason Bowman, supervisor of EMS at Alton Memorial. “Those stretchers provide much more safety for our patients and also for our staff.”

The gift shop is operated and staffed by the volunteers of the Auxiliary, and all proceeds go directly to AMH. For more information about Miss Eunice’s Hatbox, contact Susie Bechtold at 618-463-7312. If you wish to volunteer, please contact Irene McLaughlin at 618-463-7872.

Gift Shop hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, with weekend hours as volunteers are available.