The Happy Dragon Thrift Shop and The Butter Paddle in Los Gatos, as well as the Unicorn Thrift Shop in San Jose have made a profound impact on the children, adults and families Pacific Clinics serves in Santa Clara County. May is National Community Action Month, so we are highlighting each of our three Bay Area-based auxiliary organizations and their dedicated volunteers.
What is an Auxiliary?
A Pacific Clinics “auxiliary” is a group of dedicated, mission-minded community members who have come together to run a retail store, which raises money for our programs and services in Santa Clara County each year.
The Butter Paddle
The EMQ Auxiliary was established in 1934 to support the original Eastfield Home of Benevolence orphanage that is now Pacific Clinics. Over the years, the auxiliary sought donations through periodic fundraising events. The Butter Paddle, run by the auxiliary, opened in downtown Saratoga with the goal of providing a more stable funding source for donations. In 2010, the EMQ Auxiliary board voted to move the store to downtown Los Gatos, where they continue to sell beautiful jewelry, gourmet treats, and home accessories, as well as an impressive selection of Annieglass.
Earlier this month, they won “Best Gift Shop” in The Mercury News’ “Best in SV 2023” for the fifth year running!
The Unicorn Thrift Shop
Almaden League of EMQ has operated The Unicorn Thrift Shop since August 1993 in the Almaden Valley neighborhood of San Jose. The league was founded by a committee of more than 25 women, who, along with the Eastfield Ming Quong Foundation and Almaden Valley Resident Carla West, were instrumental in helping the store open its doors. A “name the store” contest helped to develop with the thrift shop’s name.
A community mainstay, this auxiliary is a wonderful source for used and vintage clothing, toys, housewares, linens, books, jewelry, accessories and more. You’ll also find seasonal items during the holidays.
The Happy Dragon Thrift Shop
Ming Quong Guild has operated The Happy Dragon Thrift Shop in Los Gatos since 1958. The guild was founded by mothers and daughters of nearby Los Gatos High School who organized rummage and yard sales to support the Ming Quong Home, another heritage name for what is now Pacific Clinics. To achieve a steadier source of income, the guild rented a small shop in downtown Los Gatos, but after a few years, more space was needed and a down payment of $7,000 was made on a former supply store by redeeming green stamps collected by Presbyterian Mission, an early supporter of the shop. The building has since been enlarged to twice its original size and remains one of the most popular places in Los Gatos to purchase used and vintage clothing, housewares, jewelry, collectibles, old records and cassettes, books, children’s toys and games and other items.
Interested in Volunteering at a Pacific Clinics Auxiliary?
Volunteers at Pacific Clinics’ auxiliaries are hardworking, caring individuals who want to make their community and world a little brighter for children, individuals and families in need. If you are interested in volunteering in a fun retail environment, please contact the store you’re interested in joining directly:
- The Butter Paddle – (408) 395-1678
- The Happy Dragon Thrift Shop – (408) 354-4072
- The Unicorn Thrift Shop – (408) 997-9188
You may also go to your auxiliary of choice directly and fill out an application in person.
Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age.
Testimonials From Our Volunteers:
“Every time I work at the store, I get energized by the work I do, the ladies I work with and the customers I help. It’s such a wonderful group of women, ALL working for a common cause. It’s so inspirational.” -Bev Gillick, The Butter Paddle
“Volunteering here is a true community affair. Our donors and customers are the best and every day we make new connections.” -Claudia de Oliveira, The Unicorn Thrift Shop
“As a volunteer for almost 30 years, it makes me feel good to know how many children and families we have been helping while giving back to the community!” -Cathy Hufferd, The Unicorn Thrift Shop
“I love finding products that will bring people back time and again and, by chance, chatting with someone whose child has been helped through our store donations or just believes in our mission and wants to support us.” -Stephanie Whisnant, The Butter Paddle