St. Joseph Residents Celebrate the Holidays
Everyone at St. Joseph of the Pines Health System heralded the Christmas season with many forms of charitable activities. Associates teamed with residents, they collaborated with patients, and volunteers joined staff efforts as well.
All together they pulled off successful ventures to ensure a merry Christmas would reach many Moore County residents, outside and within the health system, who otherwise would have had unfilled wishes and empty dreams this holiday season.
Spectators observed that in the midst of the door decorating contests, the Christmas tree adornment activities, and the creation of a fresh new look and holiday feasts, the generous spirit of all associated with St. Joseph of the Pines in various capacities surfaced and evolved into the most creative and celebratory of Christmas seasons for the St. Joseph community.
The St. Joseph of the Pines Annual Holiday Food Drive garnered 1,220 pounds of nonperishable food items and almost an equal amount of monetary donations to be distributed to needy families. The drive helped support the local Food Bank's initiatives as well as the Sandhills/ Moore Coalition for Human Care.
Carolina Eddy, executive director of Sandhills/Moore Coalition for Human Care, says the abundance of food and the $670 donated to that organization helped many people "get through some very difficult situations."
St. Joseph volunteers along with pastoral care associates collected the food from the campuses each week during November and December. The volunteers sorted, boxed and weighed the hundreds of cans and boxes on a scale designed to weigh residents in wheelchairs.
"It's always gratifying to see everyone in our organization come together as a family and exhibit such warmth and generosity to so many others," says John Capasso, president and CEO of St. Joseph of the Pines Life Care.
While St. Joseph's pastoral care and volunteer services departments were busily committed to collecting the food from selfless Belle Meade, Villa and Coventry residents, the many volunteers and associates picked up extras on their visits to the grocery store each week.
The Health Center's long-term residents worked alongside their nurses and support staff so children from Pinehurst Elementary could experience the gift of giving.
Nadine Moody, St. Joseph's Memory Support Unit (MSU) director, and Gloria Lacey, activity coordinator, launched a crafts-minded effort so Pinehurst Elementary School children could shop in the school's Reindeer Shop for gifts for their parents. It's become a usual occurrence for a visitor to the MSU to walk in on a full-scale sewing project in the dining room, where fabric swaddles a table and an electric sewing machine, pin cushions and other tools of the trade are steadily manipulated by staff and residents.
"The residents enjoyed making the little pillow tree ornaments, pipe cleaner candy canes and gingerbread men," says Moody.
MSU residents stayed busy and continued the spirit of giving by making lap throws for the long-term care halls. Much of the fabric for the projects was donated by CNA Alice Lassiter, who, along with Linda McLaughlin, another CNAI, did some of the more intricate sewing on the gifts at home. Belle Meade resident Joan Gill donated two sewing kits to make tasks easier to accomplish.
"We just thought it would be nice to bring some Christmas cheer to other people. Our residents were really impressed with the gifts that were made for the children to give their parents," Moody says.
Meanwhile, an Empty Stocking Fund flourished under the direction of the development department, enabling the introduction of another means the life care system could contribute during the holidays. The Sandhills Chapter of the Military Officers Association of American teamed up with St. Joseph of the Pines, churches, social service organizations, community care and school groups. As a sponsor of the 2006 Empty Stocking Fund, residents of Belle Meade, the Villas at Pine Knoll, associates and volunteers made this Christmas merry and bright for many needy families throughout Moore County.
"We ended up securing more than $7,000 for 15 families," says Rebecca Listrom, director of development for St. Joseph of the Pines.
The purchase of grocery vouchers for 46 individuals was made possible from the drive.
"The funds raised were enough for the shoppers to spend $100 per person in addition to the vouchers," says Listrom.
Each sponsored family provided a list of their needs. After the shopping expedition, all the gifts were wrapped and labeled with each family member's name.
"Buying warms coats for four young boys in a family of five gave me great satisfaction," says Listrom. "Making certain that the holidays will be warm and bright for these recipients is a fantastic accomplishment for all of us at St. Joseph of the Pines and Belle Meade."
Back at the Health Center on Camp Easter Road in Southern Pines, the halls of the long-term care residents got a makeover that generated another form of warmth and compassion. The first annual residents' door decorating contest sparked a lot of interest when director of nursing Robert Dickson proposed the idea, along with prize money for first prize, most original and honorable mentions. President and CEO John Capasso deliberated in front of all the homespun but ingenious brightly bedecked room doors. He painstakingly narrowed the field of winners down, and then greeted proud residents who were very pleased to show off the nursing staff's accomplishments.
St. Joseph of the Pines Guild members focused on festive decorations, musical entertainment and party at the Health Center, activities which paved the way for the jolly old special guest himself who bore gifts for every resident and patient.
Jeralie Andrews is director of volunteer services at St. Joseph of the Pines.
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