June 19th, 2024

Christmas morning will be brighter for patients at CRH

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on December 21, 2022.

Herald photo by Al Beeber Volunteers fill some of the 600 stockings that will be delivered throughout Chinook Regional Hospital Christmas Day to patients.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Not everyone will be home for Christmas but thanks to a group of volunteers patients at Chinook Regional Hospital will get a little joy nonetheless.

Adults and kids alike who have to spend what should be the festive season away from family and friends in the hospital will be getting special stockings thanks to a long-running program.

More than 600 unique hand-made stockings created by volunteers and stuffed with small gifts will be delivered to patients at their bedsides on Christmas morning.

The program is sponsored by Friends of Chinook Regional Hospital, an organization led by volunteers that also runs the gift shop and TV/phone program at the hospital.

Each of the fabric stockings, made by volunteers and students at city schools, also includes a “Letter of Hope” written to a patient by a student.

Sponsored by Volunteer Services, the program involves about 500 volunteers from the project’s start to finish.

Children and adults get two completely different stockings, the adult ones filled with such items as toothbrush and toothpaste, gloves/headband/hat, an activity book and other items.

By mid-morning Tuesday, only about 100 adult stockings remained to be filled with a group of several volunteers working quickly in a room to fill them in time for Christmas.

Bobbi Harvey, a long-time volunteer, said on Tuesday the program started in the 1970s when nurses made the stockings and sent babies in a big red stocking to their mothers.

“And it’s evolved since then. We started on a small scale,” Harvey said.

Outpatients, renal dialysis patients, cancer clinic patients, and day treatment patients all receive stockings as well as in-patients, said Harvey.

“I think the patients really appreciate them,” said Harvey, with some keeping them for years or passing them on to other family members.

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