The Village that Spreads Christmas Cheer
Across the world, in the smallest of villages, children are anticipating the magic of the Christmas season. Many anxiously await December 25th, filled with the wonderment of what they will unwrap, while others can only find solace in the verses of “Where are you Christmas?” The staff at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center understand that the holiday season may not always be the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. Inspired by the hospital’s mission—to humbly join together to bring Christ’s healing mission and the mission of the mercy of the Catholic Church expressed in Catholic Health care to our communities—St. Catherine’s staff have been mirroring the work of Santa’s helpers—joining in the magical efforts to bring cheer to others here on Long Island.
Throughout the year, St. Catherine’s Community Outreach Program partners with organizations within the surrounding communities to achieve its health care priority agenda areas—to prevent chronic diseases, provide preventative care and management, promote mental health and prevent substance abuse (Learn more about the 2016-2018 CSP here). The priority areas are at the core of the hospital’s initiatives within the respective service areas. The hospital’s has programming in place throughout the year to best reach these goals, including strategic plans in place to reach underserved populations. During the month of December, St. Catherine’s staff is ever vigilant to seek opportunities to help other community partners meet their goals to help local families in need.
Most recently, St. Catherine’s Community Outreach Coordinator Mary Ellen McCrossen helped organize a “Shop with a Cop” event, in collaboration with Suffolk County Police Department’s Fourth Precinct’s COPE Division and Target of Commack. More than 20 families were identified and invited to attend, with the support of several parishes, including: St. Anne’s and St. Luke’s Parish, both located in Brentwood; Ss’ Phillip and James in St. James; St. Thomas Moore in Hauppauge; St. Joseph’s in Kings Park; St. Matthew’s in Dix Hills; Christ the King in Commack; St. Patrick’s in Smithtown; and children of patients at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center—with the assistance of the hospital’s Care Management Department.
The families were welcomed at the Commack Target with a festive Christmas Party and little helpers dressed in red—Target employees—who assisted the families find just the perfect gift with their $50 gift cards sponsored through a Target Community grant. The special helpers wrapped the gifts that will soon find their place under a Christmas tree. “The children had a great time shopping for their families,” said St. Catherine’s Community Outreach Coordinator Mary Ellen McCrossen. “St. Catherine of Siena is humbled to be a part of this heart-moving initiative—we look forward to doing it again for many years to come.”
In addition, hospital staff from Peri-Operative Services, coordinated a toy and food drive. The toys will be distributed at a special celebration for children and their families coordinated by Holiday Dreams Long Island, and the food items will be donated to The Smithtown Food Pantry.
Within the hospital, the administrative support staff have organized an annual and extensive Adopt-A-Family program, where no detail is spared to ensure each member of the family’s needs are met. During the week prior to Christmas, every patient will receive an ornament, inscribed with the message, wishing you a healthy and happy new year. And, patients will also receive personal visits from members of the Pastoral Care Department with an inspiring Christmas greeting.
Christmas is a special time of year—a time to celebrate—but also a time to reflect, give thanks and remember others, especially those in need. The Staff at St. Catherine have been diligent in the community throughout the year, and will continue to be a resource of health care information and free screenings.