Bayhealth is currently hosting their 8th Annual Festival of Trees at Kent General and Milford Memorial Hospitals.This year’s festival features more than 60 trees decorated by different hospital departments with lights, tinsel, ribbons, ornaments and bells. The program encourages a competition between departments as individuals from the public are able to vote for their favorite trees.
Proceeds from the Festival of Trees supports Bayhealth’s Chaplaincy Fund, a program that assists Bayhealth employees in times of distress or economic hardship. Organizer of this year’s program Jane Hewitt, Patient Advocate at Bayhealth, has a special connection to the program as it helped her 6 years ago when her mother and brother passed away just six days apart. The funds were used to send Jane to California to take care of family.
“It helped me pay for small things like travel expenses and meant that I would not have to deal with all the added stress during a difficult time,” commented Ms. Hewitt. “I truly felt I was blessed.” Hewitt states that the fund has been able to help many Bayhealth employees over the years when they need a little extra help. Just last year one employee that works in the Patient Escort Department was granted $250 to put a deposit on an apartment in the local area. A single mother, this small token of appreciation went far as the mother was able to move her family into a better environment than where they had been living.
“It can be very hard starting out especially in a tough economy,” said Hewitt. “The Chaplaincy Fund shows the employees that we go above the normal to care for them. Sometimes unexpected things happen in life and this fund helps in those situations.”
Located at the entrance to Milford Memorial Hospital, the trees have also been an enjoyable display for many of the families waiting for loved ones at Bayhealth facilities during the holidays. Hewitt states that she has heard that many families enjoy the trees and the comfort it brings to them this time of year.
“I have been told by several families this year that the trees offer them a place the family can go for a break, somewhere they can relax,” commented Hewitt. “It makes them feel good and puts them in the Christmas spirit.”
The volunteer-driven program is a team effort and encourages team building among Bayhealth employees. Different departments throughout the hospital set up and design their own tree in hopes that their effort will help raise money for the fund. Last year, the Festival of Trees event was able to raise $5,000 as this year’s goal has been set at $5,500.
The Festival of Trees runs until Friday, December 19. The winner of the raffle, which will be held at noon on that Friday, will take home a fully-decorated tree and the presents that are underneath. Individuals may purchase raffle tickets, $1 each or 6 for $5, at both Bayhealth campuses.
The Trees at Milford Memorial Hospital are on display in the lobby area with tickets available at the Guest Relations Desk and the Nursing Administration Department. At Kent General Hospital the trees are on display in front of the Cancer Center and Pavilion, on the 1st and 2nd floors, with tickets available at the Gift Shop, Outpatient Pharmacy, and Main Lobby Welcome Desk. For more information about the Festival of Trees, individuals are encouraged to call 302-744-6485.