Students at Tobin Elementary School in Mission Hill were overjoyed when they got to pick out knitted hats during the annual Caps for Kids event, one of several charitable events and drives BWHers have contributed to this holiday season.
For more than 25 years, Joan Casby, a senior physical therapist at the Brigham, along with other volunteers from BWH, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and elsewhere, collect handmade hats, mittens, scarves and other warm winter items and donate them to the local community.
On Dec. 14, 500 knitted hats and 20 scarves were distributed to the Tobin students. Casby said there are over 300 volunteers at BWH and DFCI who knit, crochet and sew their items. In total, 46 locations in and around Boston will receive warm winter items this year, including Boston Public Schools, early education centers, hospitals and community health centers.
Established in 1989 at the Brigham and 1999 at DFCI, Caps for Kids has donated tens of thousands of hats since its inception, which includes more than 12,000 hats this year.
“This is truly a team effort,” Casby said. “We find a head for every hat and something for everyone. The faces and excitement of the children and staff make all our efforts worthwhile.”
Here are some other ways BWHers are giving back this season:
Toys for Tots
In just three days this month, the Toys for Tots drive at BWH filled a sleigh in the main lobby with more than 1,000 toys and $1,448 in donations, thanks to the generosity of staff, patients and visitors.
With the help of a team of volunteers led by retired U.S. Marine Col. Bob Donaghue, former operations manager for BWH Security and Parking, donated toys were packed into large boxes on Dec. 9 to be delivered to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.
Welcome Winter Food Drive
The red sleigh in the 75 Francis St. lobby is now filling up with food during the annual Welcome Winter Food Drive. From now until Dec. 19, BWHers can drop off canned, boxed and other nonperishable food items at the sleigh. The food drive benefits the Parker Hill/Fenway ABCD Emergency Food Pantry in Mission Hill.
Bringing the Magic of the Holidays to BWH
For the 35th 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. He brought gifts for all of the patients on her unit. Elizabeth asked her husband 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.
If you know of a winter drive or giving opportunity that is being organized at BWH, or would like to submit a holiday photo taken at BWH for inclusion in the holiday gallery, email BWHBulletin@partners.org.