Thank you to the Marine Mom-Bethesda “Elfs” who brought Holiday Cheer to Walter Reed!
We love how “Elfs” from different parts of the country show their support during such a special time of year to those we serve! You are SO appreciated!
Thank You for entrusting Marine Moms-Bethesda as a steward of your donations and gifts in support of our mission of bringing food and comfort items to the injured, ill, and wounded warriors and their families at Walter Reed.
You help brighten their time spent during their recovery at the hospital, and you are more appreciated than you know. Thank you for caring.
The Holiday Cheer 2015 “Elfs”: Thank You!
Their very generous donations made this year’s event possible.
Florida: The Zabel Family; Cheryl & Ted
Maryland: Choptank Marine Corps League Detachment #439; US Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 21-03; Dina; Jessi
Washington: WA State Operation Thank You
“Elf Barb” screened, sorted, and bundled the cards up in a cheery bow. Thank you, Barb!
Thank you, Cards Elves!
California: “Women in Recovery”
Florida: The Zabel Family, The Frase Family, Marilyn & Crew, and Cheryl.
Maryland: Michelle; Choptank MCL Detachment; Our Lady of Victory/Baltimore grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5.
The hand-written, and sometimes homemade, cards were distributed during our December 6 Holiday Cheer luncheon on the 4th floor to patients either directly, or to their family members to give to their loved ones. They were given to combat patients, and to “regular” active duty or Veterans who were surgical and cancer patients on the 4th floor.
The handmade cards were beautiful – no they were gorgeous! The ones from the kids were great, the blank batch sorted into packets with stamped envelopes were really appreciated, but most of all, the heartfelt notes and thoughts inside the cards were uplifting and encouraging.
The cards mean a lot to the family members, too. One of the moms came back a second time and asked if she could have another bundle of cards. She said she just loved reading the kids’ cards. We had plenty to share. Plus… ya know… we don’t say “no” to a military mom X 4… we just don’t…
A retired Veteran’s family came in for lunch and we loaded them up with stuff for him, including the cards. Toward the end of the event, he made a special trip down the hallway to the luncheon room and thanked us for taking such good care of his family. Then he said he wanted to give the cards back, said he didn’t think they were for him, that they were for the younger patients. We told him, nooo, they were for him, too, that our “Elfs” knew the cards might go to Veterans.
The extra cards were given to Mia with the Marine Corps Detachment at Walter Reed to distribute to incoming patients and the out-patients. If there were any left after that (some of our card “Elfs” are quite generous with their time and cards), they were going to be given to patients at Ft. Belvoir and Quantico.
The Luncheon: A holiday buffet for the 4th floor patients.
The Team: Dina, Deb, Colette, and Jane, with help from Jason.
Thank you, Jason! Great job, Ladies!
Jason from the Inpatient Warrior Family office met us at the hospital and helped us set up and tear down. We were very grateful for his help! The patients and family members were so appreciative of the food. There was enough left we were able to serve some of the staff as well.
Assorted Chicken Wraps
Chicken Salad and Assorted Rolls
Chicken Noodle Soup
Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta Salad
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Water and Assorted Drinks
Fresh Strawberry and Banana Smoothies
In addition to the luncheon on the surgical ward, through the Marines’ Wounded Warrior Battalion we adopted a Marine Family and two single Marines living in the out-patient barracks at Walter Reed. This was done in two parts.
Part 1 was helping a Marine family, new to Walter Reed, set up housekeeping in their apartment at the out-patient barracks.
When patients move into the out-patient barracks, it’s like setting up an apartment. They, the patients and family/caregivers, are responsible for supplying everything from cleaning supplies to dishes, flatware, pots and pans, small appliances, and everything in between.
Elf Gladys helped with the shopping. I stopped by her and Bob’s home on the way to the hospital and picked up beautifully wrapped gifts. Cleaning supplies, pots, pans, dishes, glasses, flatware and other assorted items were on the list.
The gifts were delivered 19 November. Mia, our contact with the WWB, met me when I arrived at WR and we took the gifts up to her office. She passed them onto the family on our behalf because the privacy of the patients is protected by the HIPPA law. We cannot contact them directly unless they contact us first.
(Also something to note for future reference: the military police on the base are not allowed to jump start your car… yeah… The battery went “click” when I turned the key. Soldiers and Marines to the rescue! Thank you!!!)
(part Deux: make a note next time of where you download the pictures.)
Part 2 consisted of the Holiday Cheer gifts for our adopted Marines.
If you’ve followed MM-B in past years you know we’ve given stockings out at our Holiday Cheer luncheons. This year, with the low number of combat in-patients on the hospital ward and not doing the luncheon at Mercy Hall because it closed a few years ago, we decided to adopt some Marines to help brighten their holidays.
A special Thank You to the Choptank MCL Detachment for their help in making this possible. They donated $1,000.00 toward the gifts for the Marines at the Detachment’s USMC Birthday Party on 10 November. This Detachment has been a tremendous supporter of our mission since 2009.
We wanted to make sure the gifts were something the Marines needed or wanted. You know how some of us moms are – soap on a rope and socks… 😉 And if you know Marines, you know how difficult it is getting them to tell you what they want. They seem to always put others before themselves.
Gifts and gift cards were bought from wish lists provided to us, at our request, through the WWB-East for the same Marine family above, and for two single Marines.
Food was the most requested item from everyone, so we included gift cards for Dunkin Donuts, Subway, Applebees, and Giant Food, distributed according to the wish lists. Some quilts and pillowcases from Bayside Quilters were included, as well as a bundle of the holiday cards for each.
Pajama pants and a Best Buy gift card for one of the single Marines.
A Visa gift card to use at the NEX for winter boots and some really nice boot socks to go along with the card for the other single Marine.
For the Marine family, a Target gift card, toys for the family’s young daughter, baby items for her l’il brother-to-be, and some special things for Dad and Mom. And Jess made sure Mom had some special “mom stuff” to help her through her pregnancy.
Jess also did the shopping and wrapping for the family. Deb helped out with extra pajama pants and homemade baby blankets.
The gifts and extra holiday cards were delivered to Mia on 10 December to pass on to the Marines a little closer to Christmas. It’s such a pleasure working with her. A bundle of energy, she truly seems to have the patients and their families best needs at heart.
This was Marine Moms-Bethesda’s 10th Holiday Cheer at Bethesda, now Walter Reed.
Our first holiday luncheon was in 2005, for Nate, his family, and other 3/1 Marines wounded in combat.
We’ve seen the price of freedom and it is humbling.
Continued prayers for our military and their families. Wishing you the best in 2016.
Until next time,