When St. Barnabas lit its 90-foot-high Christmas tree Thursday night, it also illuminated a need.
The tree lighting was part of the Country Christmas celebration at the Richland campus that kicked off the 29th Presents For Patients® campaign. It brightens the holidays for long-term care residents by matching them with a visitor who personally delivers a gift.
Paul Cathmar of the Arbors at St. Barnabas received the first gift—a cowboy hat and country Christmas CDs—at Thursday night's festivities.
The goal of this year’s campaign is serve more than 30,700 patients at 353 facilities throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, West Virginia, Tennessee and South Carolina.
Presents For Patients® is operated as a community outreach program by St. Barnabas Charities and is co-sponsored by WPXI-TV, which provided live coverage from the event.
Those attending the event were asked to bring a new unwrapped gift for a nursing home patient, such as warm blankets, sweatshirts, non-skid slippers, pajamas, sweaters and large-print word searches.
Collection boxes were close to full near the end of the evening.
Horse-drawn hayrides, hot cocoa, roasted marshmallows over a bonfire, photos with Santa and Zambelli fireworks also were part of the festivities.