Monday, December 17, 2012

Shhh…Santa’s elves have been spotted…

Photos courtesy of Pincher Creek Health Centre
^ Volunteers Edith Warkentin, Jenny Toews, June LeGrandeur, Maureen Rouleau, Sue Possnett, and Megan deBoer (Volunteer Coordinator AHS). Missing - Margie Laatsch, Joyce McFarland, Beryl Zoratti

Kerri Robins, Senior Communications Advisor
Foundations Relations, Alberta Health Services

Santa’s elves are everywhere; just when ya need’em. And busy...busy...busy…

“Obviously it’s no fun being in the hospital at Christmas,” said Jordan Koch, Site Manager, Pincher Creek Health Centre. “Hopefully our patients will feel the warmth of the season when they see what Santa has brought them Christmas morning.”

Santa has been busy but getting a little help from his friends.

“This is our first annual ‘Christmas stocking stuffers,’ and community volunteerism has been amazing,” said chief elf, Megan deBoer, Alberta Health Services (AHS) volunteer co-ordinator for Crowsnest Pass and Pincher Creek.

“We’ve stuffed 40 stockings for adults and five stockings for kids, and the nurses at Pincher Creek Health Centre will help Santa on Christmas Eve by handing them out to patients,” said deBoer.

While stuffing stockings for hospital patients isn’t a new concept, it plays out a little differently each time and never gets old. The brainchild of nursing staff at the Chinook Regional Hospital in the early ‘60s, it was funded by the Friends of Chinook Regional Hospital and the Hospital Auxiliary.

The volunteer elves in Pincher Creek are a speedy bunch who pulled off this campaign quickly. The first meeting was held in November and by Dec. 6, the stockings were sewn and stuffed.

Preparing stockings
“Our local community really stepped up to the plate and pitched in,’ said deBoer. “We got a kickstart from the Windy Slopes Health Foundation with a $500 donation, along with support from McRae Holdings Ltd. and Damberger Trucking.”

As for the volunteers? They were modest about their efforts.

“It was such a small thing for us to do,” said June LaGrandeur, local volunteer chipping in on the sewing and stuffing. “I think I can speak on behalf of the ladies I volunteered with that it’s our pleasure to do this if it brings even a small smile to someone’s face.”

The stockings were stuffed full of socks, crossword puzzles and pens, lotions, nail kits, tissues, candy and toys and stickers for the kids. And, thanks to Dr. Bonertz & Creekside Dental Clinic, patients also received toothbrushes, floss and toothpaste in their stockings.

It’ll be a tough call to see who has more fun Christmas morning – the nurses who get to see those happy smiles, or the patients unpacking their stockings from Santa.

“We’ve already decided we want to do stockings again next year, and we’re adding ‘basket stuffing’ to the list for Easter,” said deBoer, laughing.

The Windy Slopes Health Foundation echoed that commitment.

“The community and volunteers really picked up the ball and ran with it,” said Donna Schauerte, Windy Slopes Health Foundation Chair. “It’s wonderful to see such Christmas spirit and dedication in the community and from so many departments at our hospital. “Christmas morning will be a little brighter for our patients.”

Windy Slopes Health Foundation raises funds in support of priority health care needs at Pincher Creek Health Centre. Please visit the Windy Slopes Health Foundation for more information.

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