Good Samaritan Society gift shop creates priceless connections

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – While gift shops are usually home to trinkets and snacks, the resident I spoke with tells you the reason he visits is to meet people and make connections.

Gordy Lovell lives in the nursing home at the Good Samaritan Society Sioux Falls Village. He says that each day is a gift.

“We’ve got the restorative exercise program, and we play bingo, and we sing songs,” Lovell said.

And nowhere is that more apparent than the newly re-opened gift shop in the facility’s lobby. It was closed for over a year due to COVID-19.

“I get coke, buy potato chips, and sugar free candy, and sugar free cookies… which is always good for you,” Lovell said.

Here you can find items like cleaning products, jewelry, greeting cards, house ware items, and many treats. But the real treats Lovell says aren’t on the shelves but who is behind the counter.

“I like being here, I love the residents, and I love to visit,” Murray said.

Jane Murray resides in independent living and has been volunteering at Good Sam for 30 years. She spends most of her time organizing the shop, scheduling and helping shoppers.

“I’m very happy. It gives me something to do, and I love to visit with the residents, and I can visit with most everybody,” Murray said.

Shoppers can use their own money or tokens they earn from playing bingo to purchase items.

“We need a place for our residents to be able to get away; some of our residents don’t have a family to take them to Walmart or the grocery store, so this enables them to come in-house and buy the items or gifts they would like to have,” Hanssen said.

And make connections that you can’t put a price on.

“I come down, and… I consider Jane or whoever is working as a friend. You go in the shop and they treat you like they’ve known you for 100 years, and it’s important for me to – I just love talking to people. I guess that’s why it’s so important to me.” Lovell said.

The gift shop does accept donations from the general public. You can either drop them off at the front door or call in advance.’

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