The team at Tidelands Health is helping Santa check off some items on his list this holiday season.
Bags of skateboards, toys, clothes, shoes and more to fulfill holiday wish lists of local kids in need.
Mounds of snacks for pediatric cancer patients undergoing lengthy treatments at MUSC Health.
A hefty donation to a regional organization helping children affected by abuse.
Check. Check. Check.
The Tidelands Health team has been busy this holiday season organizing food drives, toy collections and more to support others in need now and throughout the year – often skipping their own department celebrations or gift exchanges to have more resources for those who could use a helping hand.
The giving spirit
For example, Tidelands Health Rehabilitation Services, our region’s largest network of outpatient rehabilitation services, is carrying on a holiday tradition started by a patient years ago to collect grab-and-go snacks for pediatric cancer patients undergoing hours-long treatments or receiving inpatient care at MUSC Health. While undergoing her treatments years ago, the patient discovered how much a snack can help.
“She liked to think about other people and not just herself,” said Amy Matheny, a physical therapist assistant who helps coordinate the effort. “Anything that puts a smile on their face – it’s so satisfying. We are keeping her memory alive by helping others.”
Some local kids in need will have more to smile about this holiday thanks to Tidelands Health team members. Through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree and other programs, several departments throughout the health system have pitched in to make sure these kids get what’s on their holiday wish lists, as well as any necessities to help throughout the year.
The emergency department team members at Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital spread their love through several programs, including Toys for Tots through Georgetown County Fire/EMS and Georgetown County Department of Social Services.
The marketing and communications department pitched in to spoil three kids through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.
“The past two years have been so hard for so many. We want to do what we can to spread a little holiday cheer and make sure kids in our community have their needs met and get the joy of opening a special gift from their holiday wish list,” said Ashley Huff, project and event coordinator and “chief elf” in the marketing department. “I can just imagine the smiles on their faces when they open their gifts, and that just warms my heart.”
A different kind of celebration
For the second year, Tidelands Health Rehabilitation Hospital, an affiliate of Encompass Health, is skipping the traditional holiday party. This year, the team overwhelmingly voted to donate money that would have been spent on parties and gifts for team members to a local charity. The Children’s Recovery Center will get a $5,000 donation to support its efforts to provide a safe place where children in Horry and Georgetown counties who are victims of abuse can receive a coordinated child abuse investigation.
“They can do so much good with that donation,” said Carey Swanson, chief executive officer of Tidelands Health Rehabilitation Hospital.
Helping fellow team members
The health system’s team members are also taking care of their own this holiday season. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused many hardships for some team members and their loved ones. Efforts throughout the health system have circulated to collect items and gift card donations to offer a helping hand to team members who have fallen on hard times, while protecting the team members’ privacy.
“It can happen to anybody,” said Crystal Olsen, who led an effort to collect items for an anonymous Tidelands Health team member. “Sometimes the Lord just puts it in your heart to help.”
Tidelands Health Rehabilitation Hospital team members are participating in a “giving tree,” allowing team members to take a tag with a wish list item for an anonymous teammate.
“So many of our staff are going through so much,” Swanson said. “Nobody asks for help. This way, because it’s anonymous, we can help out our own employees who have been struggling.”