Hospitals across Washington State have their own ways of celebrating the holidays each year, with special festivities that make the day and season special. Here are a few of the ways WSHA members celebrate:
Providence Regional Medical Center Everett
For the second year, staff from Providence Regional Medical Center Everett volunteered at Christmas House, which provides an opportunity for qualifying low-income Snohomish County parents to select free holiday gifts for their children. The effort was part of the medical center’s mission in motion initiative, in which a leader picks a charity and invites others to join them in volunteering. For the medical center’s staff, it’s all about making the holidays merrier for kids in the community they serve.
Kittitas Valley Healthcare
Kittitas Valley Healthcare in Ellensburg kicked off the holiday season with an employee craft fair in early December. The organization’s Recognition Team followed the fair up with a slate of events, including a free holiday breakfast, lunch or dinner in the café, where employees were served by their leadership team. The most anticipated new event for 2016 was an Ugly Sweater Day — complete with group photo.
This year, a number of children and seniors in need on Whidbey Island will find special gifts under the tree, thanks to a holiday gift-giving program called “Tree of Hope,” in which WhidbeyHealth participates.
WhidbeyHealth employees purchase items for the children based on the child’s age and wish list. Items often include toys, clothes and bikes. “Santa” and his elves will pick up the gifts at the hospital for delivery by Christmas morning. Santa will return to the hospital to pick up presents for local seniors purchased by staff members for the Adopt-a-Senior program, administered by Senior Services of Island County. Gifts may include personal items, clothing and furniture.
A total of 57 WhidbeyHealth employees are participating, and they will surprise 67 children and 56 seniors with gifts under the tree.
Providence Holy Family and Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center
Caregivers recently gathered for the annual Christmas appreciation meal at Providence Holy Family Hospital and Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane. Core leaders joined in the festivities by donning aprons and serving gloves alongside the Food and Nutrition Services team to serve employees and caregivers a delicious meal. More than 6,000 meals were served, and more than $3,000 in donations were collected and will be given to Transitions: a program working to end poverty and homelessness for women and children in Spokane.
EvergreenHealth decks the halls right after Thanksgiving, bringing festive décor throughout its Kirkland campus and all of its Eastside locations. Holiday music is heard throughout when volunteers come to play the piano. Santa makes a special visit for its annual feast, where colleagues and volunteers gather for photos with St. Nick and enjoy lunch and dinner together. Passersby in the Galleria are invited to remember their loved ones and colleagues they hold dear this season, as well as those whom they able only to hold in their hearts, at the “Reflecting Your Light” display by filling out memory tags. Those foregoing their own holiday to care for patients are also treated to a festive meal.
Summit Pacific Medical Center
Summit Pacific Medical Center in Elma holds activities throughout December, beginning with a staff and community craft night early in the month hosted by the medical center’s Spirit Team. Those in attendance were treated to snacks, a holiday movie and crafting stations where they could build their own holiday ornaments and decor. Throughout the month, the medical center has encouraged hospital departments and local businesses to create gingerbread houses. All the gingerbread creations are on display for the week prior to Christmas. Staff and the public are voting for their favorite house.
Finally, on Friday, December 23, the medical center’s foundation is hosting a festive sweater fundraiser. Staff are encouraged to wear their most festive sweater and make a $10 donation to the medical center’s Patient Assistance Fund, which provides assistance to low-income patients for medications, transportation and other needs as identified by their care team. Staff will vote on their favorite sweaters, and the most festive participants will win fun prizes.
As part of Skyline Hospital’s commitment to give back to its communities, staff is collecting new or gently used winter clothing (coats, hats, gloves, fleeces etc.) to be donated to those in need. Items will be distributed through the local food bank and emergency housing shelters. All of the staff at the White Salmon hospital believe “together we can make a difference.”
Whitman Hospital and Medical Center
At Whitman Hospital and Medical Center in Colfax, they do all they can to honor their patients, employees and community during the Christmas season and let them know how much they appreciate all that they do for their patients. They participate in the local Christmas parade by entering a float. During this season of icy roads, staff volunteer to deliver “Meals on Wheels” to elderly citizens in the area. Employees also have the opportunity to buy Christmas gifts for residents at a local assisted living center. Each of its managers sign up to help serve a delicious holiday meal to all staff early in December as a way for all to celebrate the season together. On Christmas Day, the hospital provides a traditional dinner (at no cost) for those employees working the holiday. A fun addition to the patient and employee meals during this time of year is the Christmas-themed placemats.
Harborview Medical Center
One of the highlights of the holiday season at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle is the annual Children’s Party for some of the neediest children in their community, which the hospital has been putting on for 30 years. More than 500 children attended the party on December 10, which was held at the Yesler Terrace Community Center. The children received gift bags filled with toys donated by the Real Baseball Involvement Club; did crafts with volunteers from The Junior League of Seattle; and learned about pedestrian and fire safety from Safe Kids Seattle/King County, Seattle Fire Department and Medic One volunteers. Also during this holiday season, Harborview continued its “Project for Peace.” The blue “peace” ribbon on their badges displays their values and desire for peace in the world and their community.
Northwest Kidney Centers
Administrative staff members at Northwest Kidney Centers’ Lake Forest Park office gathered for an annual holiday potluck and photo opportunity.
Othello Community Hospital
Staff at Othello Community Hospital got festive by donating to the Annual Hat & Mitten Tree, Toys for Tots, Coats for Kids and their local food drive. Many items they received were gathered by the Othello Fire Department, which will make baskets for their community members that are in need of food and some warm items for this chilly winter season. It is a great way for Othello Community Hospital to make a real difference and give back to the community.
From the entire team at WSHA, happy holidays! (Tim Pfarr)