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MMC’S Christmas Angels program aims to make holiday brighter

by Minden Press-Herald

Employees at Minden Medical Center are reaching out to help families in need during the Christmas season.

The MMC Christmas Angels program is one where employees gather resources to help families who might not have the financial means to provide Christmas for their children. Patient Representative Dawn Stewart says the program is a way for their employees to share the love of God and bring joy to area children.

“I came here in 1980, and as it got closer to the Christmas season, I had begun to realize that Minden Medical Center is really a special place,” she said. “They’ve proved it over and over, and it’s just gotten bigger and bigger in their giving, not only at Christmas but year round. This hospital realizes it is about serving others and it is about love.”

She says businesses in town and private citizens also give to help 25-30 families the hospital knows about each year.

“When you’re dealing with other people’s money, you’ve got to be very careful,” she said.

“You have to make sure everything is done appropriately. Every year, about October, I start checking to see, and it may be a mom with several children, or grandma, or it may be a dad who needs just a little extra help taking care of whatever. We don’t pick and choose.”

Employees will pool money together throughout the year by paying $5 to wear blue jeans on Fridays or purchase a gift from a list compiled by Stewart.

The money raised through blue jeans day is also divided up to give to other organizations as well, including the American Cancer Society, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and others.

They make sure the gift children ask for is purchased. If the employee does not purchase that gift, then she will take the money gathered and purchase that particular item, she said.

It may be anything from a game, a game console to a special pair of shoes.

Charlotte Jones, RN, manager for day surgery, says she donates every year and it’s about the children.

“We think about our own families and what we’re going to do for them, and you want to do for other families too,” she said. “There are families that can’t do for their children, and it’s that spirit of giving.”

Stewart says they also provide food for each family. They gather fruit to go in their stockings and a ham or turkey with all the fixings for the Christmas meal.

For patients in the hospital on Christmas Day, Stewart says they try to do something special for them as well. Church groups and schools make special things, like Christmas placemats or handmade Christmas cards to give to patients. Santa Claus also may make a trip down the hallways to visit patients, Stewart said. Christmas carolers will come and sing songs too.
“The Christmas spirit is everywhere in this hospital,” she said.

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