Langley tuck shop serves various needs

Carol Leeson and Jean Sexsmith have never stopped to calculate how many hours a week they volunteer at their home, the Renaissance Resort.

Sexsmith has lived at Renaissance for about seven years, and Leeson has been there about four.

But since each has lived there, they’ve been volunteering at the Country Store, a small tuck shop for residents.

“The pleasure of serving,” was Sexsmith’s reason for why she does it.

 Leeson cited an example of the value they place on helping others.

A resident came by with a request, but due to health issues could barely speak.

Leeson and Sexmith were able to get some sundries for him from a retail outlet.

That’s because part of their work, in addition to the two hours the store is open each week, include special-occasion sales, accounting, fulfilling requests, and even some personal shopping.

It’s a far cry from the origins of the Country Store when the Renaissance opened several years ago.

“It started with just stamps and a few Kleenex,” Sexsmith explained.

Over the years, it’s expanded to include snacks, sundries like garbage bags and paper towels, gift items, and even homemade sewing and other items.

Sometimes residents have been known to donate items, such as gift baskets of bath products or other items they are unable to use themselves.

And four times a year, the store sets up near the dining room for special sales.

The next special sale is for Easter, giving residents a chance to pick up items for their grandchildren or others.

The two friends rely on Leeson’s husband to go over the books at the store, where every transaction is recorded by hand in a ledger.

They do not have the luxury of a computer system.

Volunteering is nothing new for these women.

“We were in the Kinsmen Club for many, many years,” Leeson said, referring to their work together through her husband’s service club membership.

Sexsmith said she recalls helping threading needles for her grandmother, and now she receives help with her needles from younger members of her family.

“I have always been a volunteer, from the time we were kids,” she explained.

When she and her husband lived in Hong Kong, she volunteered for a group that helped mainland Chinese adjust to living in the former British colony.

The store doesn’t just help residents.

The women pick up items on sale, and they are then sold at the Country Store for regular retail price.

The difference is then donated to charity.

That’s been going on for years.

The most recent donations amounted to $1,200 for the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation, and the same amount was applied to BC Children’s Hospital.

“Our goal was $2,000 for the year,” Leeson said.

Sexsmith said that the store would not be nearly as successful without Carol, who does the driving.

Working at the store keeps the women active and involved.

“We are blessed with real good health,” Sexsmith said.

And one of the added benefits is that they get to socialize with their neighbours.

“We’re next door to the hairdresser,” Sexsmith noted, adding with a chuckle, “We get all the news.”

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