Being far from home in a hospital over the Holidays is no fun.
We were grateful to once again have the opportunity to bring some “Holiday Cheer” to recovering Marines at the hospital.
On December 7, 2016Marine Moms-Bethesda delivered gifts and cards to the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Battalion-East Detachment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. This was our 10th year bringing cheer to patients!
Sunday’s luncheon was really nice. Dina and Dina were a pleasure to work with. Yes, who would have thought there would be two Dinas? With help from HM2 C. from the WIFLO we were ready to serve a half hour early. Thank you, Ladies. Job well done!
Brother Dave popped in to say hello, always nice to see him. He’s so dedicated to the patients at Walter Reed.
Our “Elfs”, along with our volunteers, are dedicated, too. They are what makes the luncheons so special for the people we serve.
By all accounts, we’ve heard the “3rd Annual American Heroes Dinner” hosted by Honoring The Sacrifice Foundation was very enjoyable!
It was an honor to be involved as a sponsor for three VIP tables through the generosity of an anonymous donor. Thank you for supporting this organization that is helping to better the lives of those who have sacrificed so much on our Nation’s behalf.
“Elfs” in the Chattanooga area helped us get the word out and fill the seats. Thank you!
Special thanks to Mr. John Shackleford for sharing his personal photographs from the dinner with us. It was nice being able to place the names on our guest list with pictures of our guests.
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. Continue reading Holiday Cheer 2015 Updates→
It’s hard to believe this will be the seventh year we’ve brought “Holiday Cheer” to Walter Reed/Bethesda! It’s actually the eighth holiday event if we count when Janelle, Brenda, and I were there in November 2005. 3/1 Marines we or our sons knew were patients on the overflowing combat surgical ward after being wounded in combat.
December 5, “Holiday Cheer at Mercy Hall 2013” Luncheon
A Holiday Meal, Stockings, Cards, and Cookies, with “Elfs” providing support from all over the country made for a Very Merry Day at Mercy Hall!
Gladys and Bob, always early, were there and unloaded when Guy and I arrived around 10:15, with Katie right behind us bringing in adorable gingerbread houses from the Calvert County Hospice’s Festival of Trees Gingerbread House contest. Ace and the Sailors set up the two buffet tables and Jaime from “Touch of Relief” arrived shortly after to offer free seated massages to our guests. We missed having Jess with us. She’s being kept busy by “The Littlest Elf”, her darlin’ new Wee One. Jess sent the stockings with Bob she and her “Elfs” put together, made possible by individual sponsors and local organizations.
We covered the tables and started the chafing dishes, then began setting out the food and “niftie-gifties”.
The “Holiday Cheer” luncheon was quieter this year than in past years. The number of troops at the barracks is lower than they have been. Marines and Soldiers we’ve met over the past year or two have recently been medically discharged, and the ones still living there are kept busier than they used to be just a few years ago.
Stockings, cards, and other items left at the end of the day were taken by Katie, Bob and Guy to 7 East (the Traumatic Brain Injury Ward in the hospital) and the Marine Liaison Office for distribution.
A little bit about Mercy Hall:
Individual living quarters in this small out-patient barracks are equipped with a small fridge and microwave in a dorm-like room with a kitchenette. Pots, pans, cooking utensils, plates, cups, and silverware are the responsibility of the residents living there. We recently learned those basic items are no longer provided for them. That ended after the building was remodeled in 2011 due to budgetary restraints.
There is no cafeteria in Mercy Hall. McDonald’s and a gas station, kind of like a “Quick Stop Shop”, are a short walk away – downhill. To get to the hospital cafeteria is quite a walk, and the Warrior Cafe in Building 62 is even farther away – uphill. There is no commissary on base. Unless they’re able or inclined to cook for themselves, choices for food and meals are limited for these mostly young, single, men and women living on their own. Many have told us they don’t like going over to the Warrior Cafe (it’s too busy for them) and after a long tiring day, they don’t want to walk to the cafeteria.
Physical therapy and other things the out-patients have on their daily schedules are also quite a walk away from where Mercy Hall is located. Our bi-monthly Thursday luncheons are “drop in and have lunch with us” on a “catch as catch” can basis. Bethesda Naval Hospital and the old Walter Reed Army Medical Center combined in September 2011 and most events for the out-patients are now held in Building 62, on the other side of the hospital. We are one of very few groups still doing events at Mercy Hall.
One of the 19 year old residents of Mercy Hall said to us,
We love your luncheons! You make it feel like HOME!”
As we were leaving, we told one of the Sailors we met six months ago we’d be back in February. He said,
“I wish you’d come back in January.”
We asked him, “Why? Are you leaving before February?”
No, I just like it when you come. Your food is so good and it beats the Ramen noodles I have back in my room.”
After the chafing dishes start simmering, when you open the door and walk into the lobby the scent of the food reminds you of “Mom’s kitchen” at home on a Sunday afternoon.
Our luncheons are really appreciated by the guys and gals living at Mercy Hall, and we are very grateful for our Supporters and Volunteers who make them possible.
Below is a list of this year’s Holiday Cheer “Elfs”. Thank you, sincerely, for making the day extra special for the Marines, Sailors and Soldiers we served!
The Holiday Cheer Menu:
Cheese Spread and CrackersRoasted TurkeyBaked HamMashed Potatoes and GravyCornbread StuffingAssorted RollsGreen BeansSweet Potato CasserolePasta SaladFresh FruitShortbread, Sugar, and Chocolate Chip CookiesAssorted drinks, including six varieties of Two If By Tea®
Imagine our surprise when 8 cases (96 bottles) of tea arrived by Fed Ex from an anonymous donor!
Many Thanks to the “Elfs” for helping to spread “Holiday Cheer at Mercy Hall” this year!
Stocking Thank You’s!
25 stockings for the Mercy Hall luncheon!
Bayside Quilters of the Eastern Shore made the stockings.
“Just An Elf” from somewhere sent 8 cases (96 bottles) of assorted flavors ofTwo If By Tea®for our “Semper Fi Guys”. [Double-duty – Warriors enjoyed a delicious drink, while proceeds from our donor’s purchase supported Two If By Tea®’s sponsorship of the Marine Corps – Law Enforcement Foundation (MC-LEF), which provides assistance to the children of United States Marines and federal law enforcement personnel who were killed on duty or died under extraordinary circumstances while serving our country.]
And yes, we taste tested the tea to make sure it passed inspection for our Marines, Sailors and Soldiers.
This Marine Mom gives it a “Thumb’s UP!” (Especially the Raspberry flavor.)
But more importantly, the guys and gals liked it.
The Luncheon Crew! Thank you, for both your time and your donations of food!
Katie, Gladys, Bob, Guy, and Jane, and Jaime from “Touch of Relief” provided free seated massages.
This was our last “Holiday Cheer” event in Building 50.
The old barracks is closing in 2014 and being replaced by “Sanctuary Hall”, an outpatient barracks twice the size of Mercy Hallwhich according to this article, will be serving combat-wounded Warriors and their caregivers in the last stage of rehabilitation as they learn to live on their own before they are medically discharged.
We’ll follow along with them! Our six Thursday luncheon dates for 2014 have been approved!
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May your Holidays be the best ever, and… please keep our military, far from home, whether they be deployed, or across the country from their families, or in a military or VA hospital, and their families in your thoughts and prayers.
Special thoughts for our Gold Star Families, whose loved ones have paid the ultimate price in service to our country.
“Holiday Cheer” is one of our favorite events of the year!
Thinking about all of the “Elfs” involved, from our hands-on volunteers to the “Elfs” across the country who help make the event possible, it is overwhelming. Your support and help is deeply appreciated by those who are the recipients of your kindness.
The past several years we have held “Holiday Cheer” at Mercy Hall. However since the transition of Walter Reed to Bethesda, the dynamics at Mercy Hall have changed and we thought we could better serve our mission by hosting the luncheon on 4 Center, the 4th floor surgical ward, received permission to do so, and forward we went.
To our delight and complete surprise an Elf said, “Janie, pick up two chaffing dishes, a popcorn popper, two 6′ portable tables and a 4′ table. A check’s on the way to cover the cost.” When I opened the boxes to wash the chaffing dishes, I thought I had died and gone to Heaven. A very welcome addition to MM-B’s “Stash of Stuff” for the luncheons!!! Thank you SO much!!!
Plans for “Holiday Cheer” began this fall when the holiday card collection began. Information was sent out in our newsletter and on our Facebook page.
Many of our card “Elfs” send year after year. We begin receiving inquiries about them in August. Cards started coming in from all over the country in October. Lots and lots of cards from Florida this year thanks to Jan and her Florida “Elfs” getting the word out.
Always love the cards from “Our Lady of Victory School” in Baltimore – pre-K through 4th grade and their Girl Scout Troop. This is the third year they have participated in the card collection.
One group of cards came to us from Iowa; and there must have been 25 signatures from different people in each card, each signature with a different message to the troops. Screening the cards is one of my favorite things to do during “Holiday Cheer”. The messages are very heartwarming. Each card bundle had approximately 22 to 25 cards.
Once again, Chris and the Bayside Quilters’ Outreach Ladies made the stockings (and sent cards). Elf Jess did the shopping and with the help of Elf Bobbi and the crew from “Covers and Soles”, wrapped and filled them.
Bobby from “Covers and Soles” donated hand-knit socks for the stockings,
and “Snowman Soup”.
The Sunday after Thanksgiving, the Cookie “Elfs” packed 60 containers of cookies.
One dozen cookies in each container. BEAU COUP bunches this year. “Elfs” who said they would send 4 or 5 dozen cookies sent 10 and 12 dozen. (Guess what was dessert the day of the luncheon?)
Okie dokie, cards, stockings, cookies taken care of! Thank you, “Elfs”!
Menu: Pickles and olives, cheese platter, roast beef, ham, turkey breast, gravy, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, garden salad, cranberry sauce, fruit salad, cake, cookies and brownies, and popcorn, assorted drinks and of course, smoothies.
When I heard Cyd and Kym from the T.A.M.P.A. group down in Florida were going to be in the area for the Semper Max Wounded Warrior Support Conference I invited them to join us for the luncheon. Cyd and I have “known” each other online for several years. I remember when the T.A.M.P.A. group started back in 2004.
Elf Jess offered very welcomed free seated massages to the families on 4 East. Cyd helped hand out the stockings and cards, kept the desserts flowing and the drink cart filled and helped wherever she saw a need.
Jack and Wayne from the Choptank Marine Corps League #439 were our “Santa Marines”.
They have helped out at Mercy Hall luncheons in the past but this was their first visit to the 4th floor. We love having them join us.
The “OOH RAH Girls”, Kym and Kelly made smoothies, popcorn and helped serve. This was Kelly’s first time with us. Her extra pair of helping hands were gratefully appreciated! Kym’s beautiful smile was as welcome as the Florida sunshine and 82 degree temps she had to leave to come North.
One of the really neat things that happened was when we gave a mom we met several luncheons ago the gift certificates that The Spa Room donated to us back in August. She and her son will use them.
Cathy, also a new volunteer, Connie, and Katie all seemed to escape the camera. They were not in one spot long enough to to stand still for a picture!
Katie and Connie went down to ICU and invited families up for lunch. While there, Connie had the opportunity to say hello to a family whose Soldier had attended the Naval Academy while her daughter was there.
We had the pleasure of meeting Shannon Maxwell from Semper Max. She put a little bug in my ear about the TBI guys… this got my mind whirling… looking forward to some special events just for them next year…
After the patients and families were served, we opened the luncheon up to the Caregivers – staff – of our Warriors. Many of them are also far from home and we were grateful for the opportunity to bring some “Holiday Cheer” to them as well.
Thinking about all of the people, donations, hours given from the heart by everyone involved to make this day so special was very humbling to me.
Thank you to our volunteers, our “Elfs” both local and across the country, to the caregivers, and most especially, Thank You to those who have sacrificed so much on behalf of their country and to their families who stand beside them.
Special Thanks To:
The Marine Corps Liaison Staff at Walter Reed NMMC, Choptank Marine Corps League # 439, Bayside Quilters – YOU LADIES ROCK!!, Bobbi and “Covers and Soles”, Torina, Jan Z., Mary T., Joanna and Joel, Barbara, and Edgar, and Don, Barb, and Deb McF., Maureen, Mr. Benson, Chris and Carey, Julie, Janelle, Jen, and Nicholas, and to our “Card Elfs” – Jan Z. and the Florida Roses, Barbara H. in AL, Torina and Friends in Utah, Sally in Texas, Terri in FL, Momma Dee in FL, Marilyn in Oregon, Ellen-Alisa in CO, Gramma Pam in CA, Mary Ann, DAV 101 and DAVA 101 in FL, the Brod and O’Bannon Families in IN, PMM of Cpl. Bradley in CO, Patricia and Friends in VA, Carrie in Wisconsin, Bayside Quilters in MD, and the Iowa Farm Crew, and I have a feeling I have unintentionally left someone out….
Today’s Luncheon Crew: Katie, Connie, Jess, Cathy, Kelly, Jack, Wayne, Cyd and Kym – Job WELL Done! Thank you!
Love and Hugs,
4 Comments on “Holiday Cheer 2011″ at Bethesda
1. William “Guy” Ellis on Sun, 18th Dec 2011 00:07
How can I make a cash donation? What goes on the Payee line? To what address do I send it?
2. Jane on Sun, 18th Dec 2011 23:59
A check or money order (no cash please) made out to “Marine Moms Bethesda” may be mailed to: Marine Moms Bethesda P.O. Box 22 Cordova, MD 21625 Thank you, Guy!
3. Cyd Deathe on Sun, 18th Dec 2011 21:08
Jane, What an honor it was to finally meet you in person (after all these years via the internet) and help with your wonderful Holiday event at the hospital.
You and your organization are doing wonderful things and we are so very proud to know you and be able to work hand and hand when wounded arrive.
Keep up the great work and hopefully sometime soon you can come down tojoin us for one of our events. Hint / Hint – 5th Annual Run For the Fallen Tampa in August of 2012
4. Jane on Sun, 18th Dec 2011 21:39
It was a pleasure having you with us, Cyd! So glad you and Kym were able to be there. Let me know when you have a date set for the Run For the Fallen!
The empty table was filled to the brim with scrumptious food! Sausage cheese appetizers and a fresh veggie tray; potato soup, chicken wings and bourbon chicken, Sloppy Joes, a garden salad, fresh fruit, southern green beans, pasta salad, sweet cole slaw, Rice Krispy treats, cookies (including peanut butter cookies for a Marine we heard was craving them), assorted drinks and of course, smoothies.
The luncheon went well and the families and patients were very appreciative of the food and the nifty gifties, with one highlight being the 54 movie DVDs from Mary’s friend, a fire fighter in New York City.
It was touching to watch the family members pick through the movies carefully, looking for the perfect movie for their sons or husbands, or in one case, for their big brother. They do not think about themselves – they think about their Loved Ones. One of the dads told me after his son had watched the movie, he was going to Continue reading July 24, 2011 – 5 East: ARE YOU HUNGRY???→
Bringing "Comforts of Home" to Bethesda (now Walter Reed NMMC) since 2005.