Throughout the year, Penn Medicine employees volunteer their time, money, and resources to help members of local communities, but outreach across the Health System always kicks into overdrive around the season of joy and giving, and 2013 was certainly no exception. Today, as many of us are at home surrounded by loved ones, celebrating “the most wonderful time of the year,” we pause to recognize just some of the programs our faculty and staff have committed themselves to this holiday season.
The following round-up is merely the tip of the Christmas tree when it comes to the generosity of our faculty and staff. Stay tuned to upcoming issues of all of our publications for more information on our holiday programs and events.
From our Penn Medicine family to yours, we hope you have a very safe and happy holiday.
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
HUP’s Holly Days program is an annual tradition in which departments throughout the hospital “adopt” families from two local shelters which help women and children in transition. Participating departments buy toys, clothing, toiletries, and other items, fulfilling as much of the family’s wish list as possible. The 2013 Holly Days program was once again a rousing success, as HUP staff fulfilled the wish lists of 42 families. Bikes, games and electronic games, dolls and doll houses, iPods, TVs, clothing, and gift cards were among the many contributions. In addition, HUP staff generously donated more than $3,900 in gift cards for supermarkets, Walmart, Target, and other stores to the Covenant House, a shelter for teens in the Philadelphia community.
Knowing how hard it is for patients to be in the hospital during the holidays, HUP staff go out of their way to bring the holiday spirit into patient care units. For the past 20 years, the Abrahamsohn Christmas and Easter Committee has sponsored a tree decorating contest. Each unit picks a theme and not only decorates an artificial tree (provided by the Committee) but the entire patient unit as well. This friendly competition – five units are chosen to receive a $150 prize – has grown over the years, with themes and decorations becoming more and more creative.
Penn Presbyterian Medical Center
Twenty volunteers from PPMC celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday by reaching out to the community and helping to host a party for the homeless and disadvantaged. Volunteers helped with everything from cooking, setting up, and decorating, to greeting, serving, and entertaining several thousand Philadelphia residents, giving them a Thanksgiving feast where they were the guests of honor.
For over a decade, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center (PPMC) and the West Powelton Concerned Community Council have brought holiday cheer (and presents!) to families in the West Philadelphia neighborhoods surrounding PPMC by co-hosting a Christmas celebration. On December 21, nearly 100 local children and their parents were treated to breakfast, followed by entertainment from rapping clowns, face-painters, and balloon-animal artists. The festivities reached their pinnacle when, in the midst of music and dancing, Santa Claus himself appeared, bringing presents for all! The event was made possible once again by a donation from BBLM Architects. Many of this year’s gifts were generously donated by faculty and staff as part of one of Penn Presbyterian’s many annual toy drives.
Help Stamp Out Hunger this Holiday Season!
Food & Nutrition Services at Pennsylvania Hospital sponsored two food drives this holiday season. The first was a collection of non-perishable food items for Philabundance in support of WMMR, FM 93.3’s Preston & Steve’s Campout for Hunger campaign which ended December 6th. The team continued to collect non-perishable food items for the PAH Hall-Mercer Community Behavioral Health Center from December 5-20, with collection bins set up throughout the Hospital campus.
On December 10th, Women’s Health staff PAH held a bake sale to benefit Cookies for Kid’s Cancer, which is run by Penn Friends and Family Alliance.
The Joan Karnell Supportive Care Services Program Team hosted their fourth annual Together We Can Bake Sale on December 11th and 12th – all proceeds from which directly benefit cancer patients and their families at PAH.
As she has for the past decade, PAH Skilled Care Center (SCC) Administrator Kathy Magnes, BSN, RN, NHA, once again collected items donated from generous PAH employees for the homeless. Donations, which include much-needed toiletries, non-perishable snack foods and clothing, are divvied up and “wrapped” by the staff of the Hospital’s Skilled Care Center. The festive gift bags are then distributed to the homeless throughout the hospital’s neighborhood on early Christmas morning by Magnes and her family.
Penn Home Care and Hospice Services
For the 17th consecutive year, Penn Home Care visited homebound patients in the West Philadelphia area, spreading cheer with carolers and a visit from Santa Claus. Christine Bossone, Penn Home Care and Hospice Staff Development and Nurse Educator, created the event to offer encouragement to home care patients who are recuperating from serious illnesses. Medical staff routinely visit these patients to provide various home care and hospice services, including nursing care and rehabilitation therapies. On this occasion, Santa Claus will join other staff in caroling and giving a special gift to each patient in their home. Colleagues from Penn Community Radiology also contributed to support the visits to patients this year.