Cook Hospital Healthcare Auxiliary

The purpose of the Healthcare Auxiliary is to promote and advance the welfare of the Cook Hospital & Care Center through ways approved by the governing board of the Cook Hospital. This purpose is accomplished through approved fund raising, primarily the operation of a Thrift Shop.


The Cook Area Healthcare Auxiliary was founded in October 1954 with just 14 members. The first few fundraisers held that year included a tea party and a penny drive that raised $173.88. In 1955, another $558.91 was raised. In 1956, $800 was given to the Cook Hospital & Nursing Home and another $700 in 1959.

During the 1960’s, a scholarship program began and $550 was given to 10 different recipients interested in pursuing further education in a medical field. Scholarships have continued to be available to high school students interested in some aspect of medicine. To date, over $4,000 has been awarded to area students. Scholarship applications are available through the North Woods High School’s guidance counselor. Scholarships are also available for Cook Hospital & Nursing Home employees who choose to upgrade their skills and applications are available through the Hospital Director of Nursing.

Since its beginning, the Healthcare Auxiliary has provided funds for hospital and nursing home needs, including medical equipment, appliances, furniture and items to improve the quality of life and health care of residents. During the 60’s, over $6,200 was donated to purchase a flame photometer, therapy equipment, a porta-lift, a refrigerator, rocking chairs, an ice machine, a television, drapery material, pediatric unit materials, and beginning equipment for a hair salon. Additional funds helped to promote the Hospital by funding an open house and receptions for new medical providers and to fund some extras for the nursing home residents, such as Christmas parties, flowers, and even a Thanksgiving turkey.

During the 70’s, $19,497 was given to the Hospital and Nursing Home; $61,560 in the ‘80s, and $67,561 in the 1990’s. The range of items purchased included hair salon supplies, a washer and dryer, medical imaging equipment, blanket warmer, and dining room chairs.

In April of 2004, a new Thrift Shop building was opened at its current location. Many volunteer hours, generous donations from the community, and hundreds of shoppers have allowed the Thrift Shop to thrive and continue its mission.

From January 2000 through December 2009, the Auxiliary donated over $110,000. These funds were used to complete construction on the nursing home dining room, furnish a hospital patient room, purchase two Hoyer lifts and new lift chairs, purchase wheeled reclining chairs and a laundry dryer. Additional hair salon equipment and partial funding of a minibus were also funded.

In 2010, $15,000 was made available to the Hospital Rehabilitation Department to purchase a weight-less mobility system. In the years 2010 to 2011, more than $99,000 was given to the Hospital & Nursing Home.

Since 1954, the Healthcare Auxiliary has contributed $629,894 to the Cook Hospital & Nursing Home. Some items purchased through Thrift Shop donations include an emergency room boom, nursing home dining room flooring, continued maintenance for the nursing home aviary, hair salon equipment, a Hoyer lift, a telemedicine camera, Rehab & Wellness Center equipment, a blanket warmer, an AccuVein, a Bariatric scale, electronic thermometers, infusion equipments, as well as monthly support for the minibus gas used for senior outings.

The continued success of the Thrift Shop and the ability to donate would not be possible without the generous donations of area residents. Thank you to all who contribute and to all the volunteers and shoppers who make the Cook Area Healthcare Auxiliary and Thrift Shop a great way to give back to our community.

Thrift Shop

The Thrift Shop
320 SE 3rd Avenue
Cook, MN 55723

Hours of Operation: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Thursdays, Fridays and the second and fourth Saturday of each month. Winter hours may vary.

At the Thrift Shop, two days a week are work days where items received are sorted, priced, and displayed throughout the Shop to be sold at bargain prices. On these days, the Shop is buzzing with upwards of a dozen or more volunteers who work to keep the Shop organized and clean and also enjoy the fellowship that comes with volunteering for a good cause.

On Thursdays, Fridays and the second and fourth Saturdays, the Thrift Ship is open for business. The Shop has a reputation for great prices and an ever changing inventory so there is always some “treasure” to be found. Our never ending supply of clothing (men, women, teens, children, and babies), books, house wares, knick-knacks, bedding, drapery and everything in between brings in shoppers from all over the area. There is also a “specialty” section set up for seasonal items, centerpieces, antiques and special buys.

Donations can be dropped off at any time in our Donation Shed located next to the main building. Items should be clean and in good condition. Items NOT ACCEPTED include mattresses, car seats, television sets, any electronics, and non working appliances. Furniture can be accepted on a space available basis. If you have questions or want to make arrangements to drop off furniture, please call on Monday or Wednesday mornings or open days.

The Thrift Shop is operated by numerous volunteer Auxiliary members. Membership consists of women and men who are interested in supporting the Cook Hospital & Nursing Home through service, fundraising, and donations. Active Membership is $5 per year; Support Membership (you will not be called upon to volunteer) is $5 per year; and Lifetime Membership is $50. We invite you to join us and appreciate your support! For a membership application, stop by the Thrift Shop during business hours.

The volunteer members continue to run the organization with the main purpose of raising funds for the Cook Hospital & Nursing Home. It continues to thrive to this day with the mainstay of its funds coming from sales of goods at the Thrift Shop in Cook. The Auxiliary members also hold special events for fund raising including raffles, a winter holiday bazaar, and a community style show. Volunteers are always appreciated to help set up and run these special events.

Check out the Thrift Shop on Facebook.