I arrived at work very early this AM before anyone else. While walking around the floor, I noticed cubicles filled with food and gifts for some of our 84 Christmas families. What a wonderful sight.
We have been engaged with our Christmas Families program for as long as I have been in Cumberland and I just started my 25th year this month. The program has been improved upon year after year, with a team closely vetting the selected families. In addition, we now identify patients who are in need as well as employees who have suffered a hardship during the year and include them in the program. With our 84 families, our number is down from previous years, but again we are more closely vetting families to avoid individual families placing themselves on every organization's list and getting much more than their fair share for Christmas.
There are WMHS 51 departments participating in this year's program and the total number of individuals assisted will be 350, including 211 children. The WMHS Employee Caring Fund provides $9000 for gift cards for food and that amount is supplemented by the Medical Staff with a $2000 contribution and the remaining $3000 coming from the Health System's Mission Services budget. Food gift cards this year will exceed $14,100 in addition to the toys, games, dolls, clothes, coats, boots, bedding, pots, pans and tools that will be provided by the 51 WMHS departments.
It doesn't stop here. What is especially rewarding is that we not only provide Christmas for a family in need, but also in many cases provide resource assistance to the family beyond Christmas. Our staff works to meet their social needs to the extent possible by getting their electric turned on, ovens connected, beds for kids, transportation arranged, better living conditions, addressing immediate health concerns and the list goes on.
I am so proud to be a part of this program and to be associated with such wonderful people making a difference in the lives of others.