“Holiday Cheer at Bethesda” – Mercy Hall, December 3, 2009

mercy hall 2009 stockings cookies and cards







“Holiday Cheer at Bethesda 2009” at Mercy Hall was an incredible success!

The food was great, the stockings were fun, the cookies were delicious and the cards were the icing on the cake!

”Elfs” across the country helped us fill 65 homemade stockings, sent us over 1000 Christmas cards, and the local “Elfs” baked 100 dozen scrumptious cookies for “Holiday Cheer”.

Our December Luncheon Crew and the Choptank Marine Corps League Detachment served up a full holiday meal including turkey, ham, and all the sides!

Heartfelt gratitude to everyone who made “Holiday Cheer at Bethesda 2009” possible!

Before the Luncheon:

Our goal was to fill 60 stockings, fill 60 containers of cookies with a dozen cookies in each, and have 60 bundles of cards to take with us, along with a holiday menu of turkey, ham and all the sides for our end of the year “Holiday Cheer” luncheon.

We stuffed 65 stockings, filled 73 containers plus what Susie and Grace brought with them the day of, plus what someone dropped off the day after thinking the luncheon was on the 5th – those I will freeze and use later so total cookies was 100 dozen cookies. The 60 bundles of cards had approximately 18 in each bundle plus what Susie brought with her the day of the luncheon. The menu was most definitely a holiday meal!

You can read more about the beforehand prep and the awesome “Elfs” here.

The Luncheon:

Kathleen, Bob, Russell, and Jim from the Choptank Marine Corps League Detachment, Suzan, a new Luncheon Crew member and I met early in the morning to head over to the hospital. Traffic was good around the beltway and we arrived a little earlier than anticipated.

Meanwhile Elizabeth met up with Jess in Bethesda to give her some dip, fresh veggies and a cheese and pepperoni tray and then Jess arrived about the same time Grace and Susie pulled up in their Santa hats.

It took everyone I don’t know how long to unload their car! They had most of the food – turkey, ham, stuffing,

Holiday Cheer meal

gravy, mashed potatoes, salad with a vinaigrette dressing, green bean casserole, something else that I can’t remember the name of,

Holiday Cheer buffet








cornbread with a jalapeno jelly, cranberry sauce, shrimp, and I know I have forgotten something! There was also spinach dip, brownies, almond cookies, a homemade fresh apple cake, smoothies, and assorted drinks.

Holiday Cheer buffet 3







Susie made sure everyone was in the spirit with the Santa hats, the Santa Helpers aprons and Christmas music playing in the background.

During a slow time Jess, Suzan and Kathleen checked out the cards.

taking a break






The Marine Corps Leaguers helped hand out the gifts. Jim has been with us before but it was Russell, Kathleen and Bob’s first time there.

Choptank Marine Corps League








One of the things I will always remember is when a young Marine walked up to shake Russell’s hand (he’s a WW II Veteran) and said:

“Thank you.”

World War II Veteran

50 years later –

Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran

They are “Brothers”.

After everyone had been fed there was still food left so we took some time to eat lunch before packing up and the 2 hour plus ride some of the Crew had ahead of them to get home.

What’s that on the couch next to Suzan? Mebbe those stocking stuffer rumors were true…

taking a break 2


Jess said that from what she could tell, the favorite stocking stuffers were the iTune gift cards and the things that the Marine who shopped with her picked out. GMTA I guess…

There are a few Marines that we’ve been seeing the past several luncheons at the barracks. One of them is the guy who drew the name for the quilt raffle back in August. Toward the end when we hadn’t seen him, I asked someone about him.

The guy we asked took the stocking up to his room along with the cards and cookies and next thing I know, here comes “Trouble” down to thank us for them. Now he didn’t have to do that, but he did. And then “Trouble” took a stocking, cards and cookies for one of the gals we hadn’t seen to give to her later for us.

There really wasn’t a lot of food left over. What was left we left there for the guys to have later. Deviled eggs – okay, there were a LOT of those left! I told Susie 100 deviled eggs and she brought 200. Better too many than not enough, right?

The leftover stockings and cards and some of the cookies were taken over to the Liaison’s office for distribution on the hospital ward.

The Marines we spoke with either worked in the Liaison’s office or were patients there. Some said they will be going home for the holidays. Some will be medically discharged before we go back to Mercy Hall in February. Others will be going home then coming back for more surgeries in a few months. Still others will be returning to their units and deploying to Afghanistan in 2010.

headed home
Packed up and headed home.







We have our 2010 Luncheon dates approved. Right now there are enough funds in the checkbook to do at least two, maybe three, more luncheons. I feel like I am jumping overboard, holding my nose… but…

Every thing always seems to work out thanks to our “Elfs”!

You all are touching lives in ways you will never know.

Thank you!


A little break and off we go again!

We will be on 5 East on January 24th, 2010!

Happy Holidays!