For 35 years, the Pink Ladies Volunteer Corps has been at the heart of the Cayman Islands Hospital.
Since June of 1981, they’ve served up snacks and sandwiches for doctors and patients, and anyone else who wanted to come in for a hot meal.
Last week, the Pink ladies announced the end of an era. The hospital coffee shop will be closing in December.
Pink Ladies director Jane Moon told Cayman 27 the decision to close the pink ladies coffee shop after 35 years wasn’t taken lightly…
“It is an emotional thing, it’s a very sad thing, and it’s something that we thought and discussed, we thought long and hard about it, discussed up and down in and out, all ways around, and it’s unfortunate that this was the decision that we came to,” said Ms. Moon.
When the shop first opened in 1981, it was a two-person operation, staffed exclusively by volunteers.
“Everyday they’d bake at home and then sell the food here in a little building that was at the front of the hospital,” said Ms. Moon, who has been volunteering with Pink Ladies for around 12 years.
Through the years, the business grew and flourished, even surviving the devastation of Hurricane Ivan, but in recent years, finding enough volunteers to staff the shop became more and more difficult.
“It’s become a business, and we are a volunteer organization so, the service volunteer part is gradually diminishing and the business part is taking over and I think the ladies have decided that we are not really in, cannot be in a business situation,” said Ms. Moon.
She told Cayman 27 in today’s day and age, people just don’t have as much time to volunteer as in the past.
“Traditionally, we’ve probably relied on ladies who’ve come here with their husbands for work and who have not worked. That’s not so much the situation anymore, and I think it’s just the way that Cayman has changed and progressed probably in the last 10 to 15 years,” said Ms. Moon.
Though the shop will be closing, the Pink Ladies will carry on in the community, and won’t be strangers at the hospital.
“We are going to see what other volunteer opportunities will arise in the new year once we’ve closed out business here, and I’m pretty sure that we will be seen in and around the hospital,” said Ms. Moon.
The Pink Ladies last day at the shop will be on the 16th of December, just a couple weeks after the group’s annual Christmas bazaar – which Ms. Moon said will definitely carry on.
The HSA plans to put the business out to tender in the near future.