Maury Regional celebrates 20 years of helping local children


COLUMBIA, Tenn. — For 20 years, Maury Regional Health (MRH) employees, physicians and volunteers have been providing gifts to Maury County school children to make the holiday a little brighter.

The project began as Christmas Steps in 1999, which provided gifts of shoes to 354 children. In 2001, it transformed to Holiday Hugs, a program that provides coats and other gifts of clothing. In its twentieth year, a total of 607 children received a gift, according to Director of Volunteer Services Cindy Fox who coordinates the annual Holiday Hugs drive.

“Since this program began, we have provided more than 9,000 gifts to children in our local schools. If we used a conservative estimate of $30 per gift that would equate to more than $270,000 provided to children in need during the past 20 years,” said Fox.

The Volunteer Services Department works with Maury County Schools to obtain the first names and clothing sizes of children in need at 16 elementary schools across the county. This information is then entered into an online system that enables individuals to select the name(s) of a child by school and print out the gift tag containing this information. Gifts are then returned on designated days at which time volunteers sort the gifts by school. With the help of the Supply Chain and Plant Operations departments, Volunteer Services then begins the process of delivering gifts to each school in the county.

“We have received numerous thank-you notes from teachers and school administrators who see the face of these children when they receive a gift. It is heartwarming to know that you are making a difference in the life of a child and we look forward to this project each year,” said Fox.

The giving spirit carries across the organization. Lewis Health Center continued its Holiday Hugs program this year, providing gifts of coats and warm clothing to approximately 40 children in Lewis County. Marshall Medical Center (MMC) once again collected items for gift bags for residents of NHC Oakwood and NHC Lewisburg. MMC also conducted a food drive for the local food bank and the Alternative Youth Services Foster Care Program in Columbia. Wayne Medical Center continued its Christmas outreach program, helping several families in the county with gifts for children, groceries for a Christmas meal and other special needs. Maury Regional Medical Group practices participated in campaigns such as Holiday Hugs and Toys for Tots to assist local families.

Maury Regional Health CEO Alan Watson added, “The generosity of our employees, physicians and volunteers over the past 20 years is a testament to their giving spirit. We are blessed to have an outstanding team that not only impacts the lives of our patients, but touches the lives of children in need throughout the community.”

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