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Spreading Holiday Cheer

Volunteer Voice - Winter 2011

Volunteers Making a Difference

Volunteer Services was busy throughout the holiday season, as hospital volunteers and staff shared encouragement, comfort and cheer with patients and their caregivers.

Highlights of those activities and events included the following:

Two weeks prior to Christmas

  • Sixteen Coffee Cart and Jolly Trolley volunteers, dressed in holiday attire (Santas included) shared cookies, hot wassail, hot chocolate, coffee and tea with more than 2,500 patients and caregivers in waiting areas.
  • On Inpatient Santa Day, three Santas and 14 volunteer elves shared good wishes and gifts with more than 300 inpatients.
  • Ten Evening Coffee Cart volunteers, including two Santas and Santa’s helpers, served cookies and beverages to more than 500 patients and caregivers in waiting areas. One evening volunteer escorted an entertainment group to G12 to share holiday music with palliative care patients.

Holiday decorating and entertainment

  • Ten holiday trees and 43 wreaths were decorated and placed in lobbies, waiting areas, Café Anderson and hallways.
  • Eighty-nine trees were provided to inpatient floors and clinics. Twenty trees were entered in the Holiday Decorating Contest. For the second year in a row, Infusion Therapy took top honors with its entry, “Transformation,” featuring decorations made from recycled medical supplies.  
  • Nearly 500 musicians and singers from community groups and organizations performed in December. Among the groups were the Houston Choral Society, the Exquisite Voices of Willowridge High School, University of Houston Moores School of Music, the Celebration Singers Survivor Choir, the Suzuki Music School of Houston and the Texas A&M Singing Cadets.
  • Forty-seven volunteers worked 1,491 hours as part of  the Volunteer Services/Children’s Art Project Task Force, selling CAP products in the Clark Clinic and Mays Clinic lobbies. Fifteen employees donated their lunch hours to support the effort. Total sales were $208,388, a 20% increase from 2010.    

On Christmas Day

  • Eighty volunteers participated in this traditional day of service by hosting a holiday lunch and visiting inpatient rooms to share newspapers, teddy bears and cheer. Volunteers shared piano and keyboard music. The annual inpatient visits, started by volunteers Honey and Stanley Epstein, celebrated its 44th year. The Christmas luncheon marked its 20th year.
  • Seventy-four volunteers served a traditional Christmas lunch to 549 patients in the Main Building Cafeteria and on the G10 pediatric inpatient unit. The Volunteer Endowment for Patient Support (VEPS) funded this activity
  • Pediatric patients and their siblings received Santa bags with new toys donated by schools, local businesses, individuals, foundations and institutional departments.

Funds for the holiday activities are provided by VEPS and gift shop proceeds.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center