Each holiday season, the BWH community comes together to brighten the lives of those in need. By collecting toys, food, clothing and other items, BWHers do what they can to spread joy and bring smiles to people’s faces.
Wanda McClain, MPA, vice president of Community Health and Health Equity, said she’s astounded by the generosity of BWHers, not only during the holidays, but every day of the year. “Giving back is part of our mission and commitment to our local community,” she said. “These acts of kindness are just as important as the care we deliver to patients.”
Here are some of the ways BWH is giving back this season:
Toys for Tots Drive
More than 1,000 toys were collected this year and packed into 13 giant boxes to be delivered to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. The generosity of BWHers and visitors has made the Toys for Tots collection at BWH a huge success for the last three years. A team of volunteers led by Bob Donaghue, operations manager for Security and Parking, organizes the drive each year.
Welcome Winter Food Drive
From now until Dec. 29, BWH is hosting a food drive to benefit the Parker Hill/Fenway ABCD Emergency Food Pantry in Mission Hill. Collection bins for canned, boxed and other non-perishable foods have been placed at various locations across BWH.
Caps for Kids
For more than 25 years, senior physical therapist Joan Casby and volunteers from BWH, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and elsewhere collect handmade hats, mittens, scarves and other warm winter items that are donated to local schoolchildren in Boston. On Dec. 16, 500 knitted items were distributed to students at the Tobin Elementary School in Mission Hill. Volunteers spent time with students as they chose their new warm winter items, and students later came back with thank-you notes in hand for the volunteers. This year, more than 13,000 hats, scarves and other items were made, all going to various schools and hospitals in the Boston area.
Caps for Kids organizer Joan Casby reads a thank-you letter from one student.
Bringing the Magic of the Holidays to BWH
For the 34th consecutive year, Jim Nentwig’s family and volunteers will present patients with flowers, gifts, knitted hats and blankets around Christmas. Nentwig first dressed up as Santa (and his children as elves) when his wife, Elizabeth, was a cancer patient at BWH in 1982 and brought gifts for all of the patients on her unit. Elizabeth asked Nentwig to continue the tradition after her death, which he has, facilitating the donation of hundreds of gifts to patients and staff, which now get delivered by many of his family members and volunteers dressed as Santa and elves here at BWH and elsewhere in the area.
Neurology Blood Drive
Earlier this month, BWH’s Department of Neurology hosted a team-wide blood drive challenge. Neurology physicians, researchers, staff, patients and families were invited to donate blood at the Kraft Family Blood Donor Center and Blood Mobile to help BWH patients in need. In total, 80 units of blood were donated.