The annual Christmas gift basket raffle held by Rooks County Health Center (RCH) in December raised nearly $3,000 which went toward helping some Rooks County children who might otherwise have been unable to enjoy presents at Christmas.
This marks the 8th year of the Christmas gift basket event. Each RCH department donates their time and money for whatever they would like to put in their baskets, and then RCH employees pitch in generously to buy raffle tickets in hopes of winning a basket, and to ensure a merry Christmas for some kids in the county. There are approx. 15-20 baskets every year. The raffle drawing is held annually as part of RCH’s employee Christmas party.
Karen Harris, Director of Diagnostic Imaging at RCH coordinates the event and was pleased with the success this year, saying “This year we raised $2800.00. The baskets ranged from a kitchen aid mixer to a patio heater and even cash. Always a great variety. All hospital departments and the Post Rock Family Medicine clinic take part. This year we were able to help over 15 kids that live in Palco, Plainville and Stockton have a great Christmas”.
Over $17,000 has been raised over the last 8 years with 100 % of the proceeds going to buy Christmas gifts for children in Rooks County.
Asked to describe the effect of delivering the presents to the families, Harris commented “The presents are usually delivered to the parents who tell their kids that they are from Santa, but sometimes we have to get a little creative in our story if we deliver to the home and the kids are there. One time we delivered to a single mom who was juggling a job while taking classes at Fort Hays. The kids were there and were giddy with excitement, couldn’t believe that all the gifts were for them. We explained that Santa had dropped the presents off at the hospital and asked us to deliver them. It was heartwarming to see the children’s excitement”.
The Christmas basket raffle is just one of the community service projects that RCH employees are involved in. During October, RCH raised a record $1700 for community food banks during the 4th annual Pumpkin Decorating contest held the week prior to Halloween.
Both Stockton and Plainville food pantries received $850 in what turned out to be a very timely contribution. When the Stockton food pantry received the RCH donation it was out of food amid concerns on how they were going to meet the demand for food assistance during the holidays.
AJ Thomas, the CEO of RCH expressed his gratitude for the many community projects that hospital employees undertake, saying “I’m proud to work in such a caring environment. We all encourage each other to go the extra mile, not just in the healthcare that we deliver here at the hospital, but also when we take that caring and commitment out into the community, to show our appreciation and gratitude for the support that we get from our friends and neighbors”.