In keeping with a years-old tradition, New Hanover Regional Medical Center employees have adopted 68 local families in need this Christmas season and will provide food, clothing, toys and necessities to those needing some extra help.
“This is something that’s very special to our employees and to us as a medical center,” said CEO Jack Barto. “It’s a chance for the NHRMC family to give to the community in a different way and in a way that makes us feel very personally involved in helping others.”
For the last seven years, employees have adopted families from local agencies that include Wilmington Interfaith Hospitality Network, Willowpond Transitional Housing, Domestic Violence Shelter and Services and the Salvation Army Star of Hope Program. This year’s total of 68 families is a record high and includes survivors of the deadly tornado in Columbus County and families from the Hospital Hospitality House.
Brightly wrapped gifts were loaded into enormous bags and boxes and piled into New Hanover Regional EMS ambulances on Friday, Dec. 15, and delivered by paramedics to their respective destinations.
“A lot of times our families are going through a crisis and, frequently, they don’t have any belongings,” said Jan Christine, RN, Public Health Nurse with Wilmington Interfaith Hospitality Network, a local agency from which NHRMC adopted 18 families this year. “They’ve moved from place to place and they really don’t have a whole lot of their own.”
Families in those situations, she said, are saving their money and working toward permanent housing, so things like birthdays and holidays often go by the wayside.
“The hospital has been amazingly generous and these families get to have a holiday,” said Christine. “What really affects them is the generosity and caring of people they don’t even know. That, I think, makes an even bigger impact than the actual things they get.
“It’s pretty neat to see the ambulance pull up with all the gifts. It’s pretty incredible.”
In all, more than 260 people have been helped this year by the efforts of NHRMC’s team of employees.