“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:
(This year’s event has closed.)
Thank you, Guy!
3. Cyd Deathe on Sun, 18th Dec 2011 21:08
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!