Employees at VA medical centers across America don their Santa hats and deliver gifts and good cheer to Veterans living in their Community Living Centers (CLCs, or nursing homes). They also join with local communities to provide presents for children and families in need. Here are just a few of the activities:
White River Junction VA elves
For 37 years in a row, this amazing team has worked with the local Department of Children and Family Services to “adopt” all the children in foster care. Family services works with the children and their foster families to create a wish list and those wish lists are given to their VA Holiday Kids Coordinator, Meghann Brough. She gives a name and wish list to VA employees looking to make a child’s holiday the happiest ever.
This year, 41 children were “adopted” for the holidays. They will have many amazing gift to unwrap and each will be received with huge smiles!
JROTC carolers can’t visit, so VA going to them
The Martinsburg VA Medical Center staff has a full schedule for the holidays.
It is having special meals prepared for nursing home Veterans along with a Gingerbread contest and Secret Santa on Christmas Day.
COVID will keep the high school JROTC carolers away, so VA staff is going to them and will record them singing. There are four high schools participating with more than 180 kids. They will create a video that will air the week of Christmas on the in-house channel that airs at the Veteran’s bedside.
The Salisbury VA hosted a Toys for Tots event.
Streaming talent show and art exhibit at Augusta VA (Georgia)
The Augusta VA held a streaming live Christmas talent show Dec. 16, followed by an art show on the 17th. Holiday music from the community was provided at different sites from Dec. 13 through 22.
Bags and bags of gifts for Veterans at the Memphis VA
Food delivery and presents at Memphis VA
Thanks to donations by Veteran Service Organizations and community partners, each day throughout the week of Christmas, gifts and goodies were delivered to inpatients on every unit at the Memphis VA Medical Center. The gifts were a backpack filled with goodies, games, a tumbler, blanket, calendar, pens, word find and crossword puzzles, and a patriotic teddy bear. A special donation of a large stuffed Christmas stocking filled with hygiene items will be given by the American Legion Auxiliary of Mississippi.
The Lextington VA hosted an Angel Tree event Dec. 22. Gifts were handed out to CLC residents.
Gifts were distributed Dec. 23.
Daniel Heathcock played holiday music on the piano for Veterans Dec. 11. One Veteran asked for “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” He rolled over to Daniel, teary-eyed, and said, “I’m getting discharged Christmas Eve. I’ll get to be with my family for Christmas. That’s why the song means so much.”
Melissa Crawford, the CLC’s recreation therapist, organized the event.
Team of Carl Vinson VA gift wrapping employees
Carl Vinson VA staff conducted its annual gift wrap at the Dublin VA. New donated items were distributed to resident Veterans.
Nursing home Veterans send cards to families.
Members of the recreation therapy staff worked with the CLC Veterans to send Christmas cards to family and friends. To make these cards extra special this year, the staff included a picture of the Veterans in the cards.