For the second year in a row, Erin Nevicosi and Amy Scott (along with around 20 of their friends) put together gift bags for new parents at the Doerr Family Newborn Intensive Care Unit.
It all started last year with a Facebook post, asking what everyone was doing for charity during the holidays.
That got Amy Scott thinking: “What can I really do to make a difference?”
“I thought about what I’m most thankful for, and it’s my kids,” Amy says. “Thankfully, I was blessed not to need the NICU, but I thought about the families who have to spend their child’s first Christmas in the hospital.”
Columbia St. Mary’s Foundation shepherds donations and gifts of all shapes and sizes. From the million dollar grants to a piggy bank full of change, we are eternally grateful for every ounce of support we receive.
There are times, however, when donors feel compelled to make a personal, more tangible gift – to get hands-on and creative.
For the second year in a row, Amy (along with around 20 of her friends) put together gift bags for new parents at the Doerr Family Newborn Intensive Care Unit.
Amy had both her children at Columbia St. Mary's and still looks back at those experiences fondly. For this project, Amy first recruited some friends to help her, but after she put the message out on Facebook, her idea went viral, and within a week, complete strangers were sending her checks.
“I was just amazed at the generosity of everybody,” Amy says, adding that the response has been so overwhelming and positive that she hopes to expand the program in the near future.
The bags contain an assortment of new-parent essentials, such as an all-natural stuffed animal, journal, photo album, disposable camera, quarters for the vending machine, children’s book, hand sanitizer, scent-free lotion and more.
“It feels so good,” Amy says, “to help those brand new families have a little better Christmas.”
Amy and her friends weren’t the only people to go out of their way recently to touch the lives of our patients.
The Suburban Milwaukee Hog Chapter of Ozaukee County donated more than 200 stuffed animals and 100 handmade blankets to the Emergency Department at Columbia St. Mary's Hospital Ozaukee. More than 20 riders participated in the "Teddy Bear Ride,” which is part of Milwaukee Hog’s annual community outreach event. The items will be given to children cared for in the emergency department to help provide comfort during their visit.
Tri City National Bank’s Hales Corners branch, in honor of its 50th anniversary, held a stuffed animal drive for Columbia St. Mary’s Comfort Creature program. It collected more than 75 stuffed animals.
Sam, James and Michael Broomfield of Whitefish Bay also brought in dozens of stuffed animals for children at Columbia St. Mary’s.
And then there is Sydney McElroy, whose story has to be one of the more inspiring and touching we’ve encountered. Only 5 years old, Sydney and her mom, Lichelle, set out to perform six acts of kindness before Sydney’s 6th birthday in February – and donating three new stuffed animals to the Comfort Creature program was first on her list.
These and countless other selfless acts of kindness truly embody Columbia St. Mary’s Foundation’s Call to Care. Columbia St. Mary’s is a community hospital and can thrive only with the support of that community.
On behalf of everyone at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital and Foundation, we want to thank Amy, Erin, Sam, James, Michael, Sydney, Lichelle, the Suburban Milwaukee Hog Chapter of Ozaukee County, the Hales Corners Branch of Tri City National Bank and everyone who has supported our mission this past year.