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Volunteer Services Showed the Spirit of the Season

Volunteer Voice - Winter 2010


Many volunteers reached out to extend the spirit of the holidays to our patients and their families this year. This summary of their seasonal outreach is an excellent example of M. D. Anderson’s great reputation for caring.

Funding of all Volunteer Services holiday events and activities was provided through the Volunteer Endowment for Patient Support (VEPS), Volunteer Gift Shop proceeds and Volunteer Services pediatric donor funds.

Christmas Day: Friday, December 25

  • 29 volunteers served lunch, underwritten by the Volunteer Endowment for Patient Support (VEPS), to 406 patients and caregivers in Café Anderson. Longtime volunteers, Rae Gerson and Toby Rosen, served as Volunteer Team Captains.
  • 9 volunteers served lunch to 58 pediatric patients and their caregivers. Longtime volunteer, Linda Konarik, served as Volunteer Team Captain for the pediatric lunch.
  • 36 volunteers visited 372 inpatient rooms and delivered stuffed bears (donated by the Joe Joe Bear Foundation), newspapers, candy canes, handmade blankets, handmade pillows and puzzle books. Volunteers also handed out handmade Santa bags to 27 children (patients and siblings). Each bag contained new toys provided by generous community donors including schools, local businesses, churches, individuals, and departments within the institution. Volunteer leader, Fran Epstein, has continued this Christmas Day tradition, known as the Ecumenical Brigade, started by her parents Stanley and Honey Epstein, over 40 years ago.

Cookies in the Clinics with Santa: Tueday, December 15

  • 10 daytime Coffee Cart volunteers, 2 dressed as Santa, connected with 1,177 patients and caregivers in the clinics.
  • Volunteers gave out coffee, hot tea, wassail, hot chocolate, mints and sugar cookies. Three evening Coffee Cart volunteers also served wassail and cookies to patients and caregivers throughout the hospital.

Holiday Jolly Trolley: Wednesday, December 16

  • Jolly Trolley volunteers served sugar cookies and juice in the clinics.

Santa Day: Thursday, December 17

  • 12 volunteers, 3 dressed as Santa, visited approximately 450 inpatients. Each patient was given a Santa hat, photo holder and candy cane.

Pediatric Holiday Party: Thursday, December 17

  • 65 pediatric patients and their caregivers attended the Alice in Winter Wonderland holiday party in the PediDome. Santa provided each child with a stocking, and volunteers helped the young patients make ornaments and ceramics. James Coney Island provided the lunch, generously underwritten by the Adam’s Angels Ministry. Ten pediatric volunteers assisted with event set up, serving, crafts and clean up. Adam’s Angels volunteers also participated.  

Holiday Tree Distribution

  • 72 departments requested and received 79 holiday trees from the Volunteer Services inventory.

Holiday Tree Decorating

  • 5 institutional trees were decorated for the 11th floor (outside Hickey Auditorium), Clark Clinic, Alkek Lobby and Mays Clinic Lobby.
  • 11 wreaths were installed in the Pathology Hallway (Alkek); Radiation Oncology waiting area (Alkek); Café Anderson Café 24/7; Clark Clinic, Alkek and Mays lobbies.
  • 8 members of the Faculty & Family Organization participated in the decoration of the trees and wreaths.

Holiday Tree Decorating Contest: Wednesday, December 16

  • 19 clinic/inpatient units/diagnostic and clinical support services areas participated in the Holiday Tree Decorating Contest on Dec. 15-16, 2009.
  • First Place: P10 Nursing in-patient unit; Second Place (tie): ICU and Admissions; Honorable Mention: Stem Cell Transplantation

Holiday Entertainment

  • In addition to the usual volunteer pianists, more than 365 musicians and singers provided almost 50 hours of special holiday music for our patients, visitors and staff during the month of December. Some of the groups participating included the Houston Choral Society, Shepherd School of Music Singers, University of Houston Brass Ensemble, Willowridge High School Choir and Fairhaven Celebration Ringers.
  • 11 evening volunteers escorted five choral groups from the Alkek lobby to inpatient floors during the month of December.

CAP Task Force

  • The annual CAP Task Force was open Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Oct. 5 – Dec. 18 in Clark Clinic Lobby and from Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Nov. 30 – Dec. 18 in the Mays Clinic West Lobby.
  • 40 volunteers (Day Captains) worked weekly 4-hour shifts for a total of 440 volunteer hours in Clark Clinic and 60 volunteer hours in Mays West Lobby.
  • In addition, in Clark Clinic Lobby, 80 employees provided 160 hours of staffing by volunteering during their lunch hour. In the Mays West Lobby, 14 employees provided 24 hours of staffing by volunteering during their lunch hour.
  • Total sales were $195,540.96 with 20 percent, or $38,758.19, returning to Volunteer Services.

© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center