Lending a hand to Santa

Published 7:43 pm Saturday, December 18, 2010

A dozen volunteers from the Bon Secours Maryview Nursing Care Center lent a helping hand on Tuesday to about 30 Salvation Army workers who were conducting a toy distribution in support of Toys for Tots. The nursing staff provided lunch for the Salvation Army workers and then helped hand out toys, gift cards and food.

Bon Secours volunteers help give out toys

Smiles, tears and laughter were the order of the day on Tuesday, when 12 volunteers from Bon Secours Maryview Nursing Care Center joined with 30 Suffolk Salvation Army workers to distribute toys during their annual Christmas toy and food distribution to needy children of the community.

The Center volunteers set the mood for the event by providing lunch for the Salvation Army workers. After lunch, the volunteers guided prescreened families through the process of selecting age-appropriate gifts for their children.

As soon as the parents and grandparents had gathered toys, the families were directed to the Angel Tree for the distribution of the children’s gifts that were donated by folks from the community. At the last stage, the families were given food for their Christmas meals, according to Chaplain Chuck Leavitt.

Email newsletter signup

“One family particularly struck me,” Leavitt said. “The single mother had obviously had chemo(therapy). When her son was given a bike, her eyes filled with tears as she saw the joy on his face. She turned and said, ‘Thank you and thank God for your generosity.’ We could all feel her heartfelt appreciation at seeing her son receive something he really wanted that she would never have been able to give him. In that moment, she felt the arms of the community around her. It would have taken the most jaded person not to be touched by her appreciation. It was quite profound.”

Leavitt, along with the health care volunteers and the Salvation Army workers, distributed gifts and gift cards valued at approximately $450.

“In just a few moments, we were able to touch these families in the deepest part of their heart and give them a little joy,” he said. “That’s what Christmas is — to give love and expect nothing in return, to communicate a sense of divine love with which we have been entrusted. We are very proud to represent the Sisters of Bon Secours in this endeavor.”