Bayhealth is currently hosting their 9th Annual Festival of Trees at Kent General and Milford Memorial Hospitals.This year’s festival features 68 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 seven 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 an employee and her family were devastated by a house fire, losing everything. She applied for assistance through Human Resources and received a much needed hand. When a beloved sister of another employee passed away, she requested help with funeral expenses that her family could not afford. With the help of the Employee assistance fund they were able to grieve their loss. Nearly 400 staff members have benefited from this fund.
Located at the entrance and in outpatient services at 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.
“One lady informed me the Festival of Trees is now part of her family tradition, they have been coming to see the trees for 5 years.” Hewitt said, “I like Bayhealth is part of a families Christmas tradition.”
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 $5,800 as this year’s goal has been set even higher at $6,000.
The Festival of Trees runs until Friday, December 18. The winners 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 six for $5, at both Bayhealth campuses.
The Trees at Milford Memorial Hospital are on display in the lobby area and Outpatient Services with tickets available at the Information 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 302-744-7085.