Maury Regional Health continues Holiday Hugs program for local children


COLUMBIA, Tenn. — For more than 20 years, employees, physicians and volunteers at Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC) have been providing gifts for Maury County school children through the annual Holiday Hugs program. This year, a total of 624 local children received a gift from the program to help make the holidays a little brighter.

“It is always heartwarming to see the difference Holiday Hugs makes in children’s lives,” said Cindy Short, director of volunteer services at MRMC. “Programs like Holiday Hugs are important every year, but a lot of people are struggling this holiday season in particular due to the strain of the pandemic or economic uncertainty. We are grateful to be able to give back and provide support for them in these challenging times.”  

Holiday Hugs began at MRMC in 1999 as Christmas Steps and gifted shoes to 354 area children. In 2001, the program transformed into Holiday Hugs and began providing coats, sweaters and other gifts of winter clothing. Since the project’s formation, it has provided more than 10,000 gifts to children in need.

To make Holiday Hugs possible, the Volunteer Services Department at MRMC works with Maury County Public Schools to obtain the first names and clothing sizes of children in need at the district’s elementary schools. This information is then entered into an online system that enables MRMC employees, physicians and volunteers to select the name(s) of a child and to print out a gift tag containing the child’s name and school. Once all the packages have been returned in early December, Volunteer Services begins the process of organizing and delivering the gifts to each school in the county with the help of MRMC’s Supply Chain and Plant Operations departments.

“It is wonderful to see individuals from across the hospital come together to support this wonderful cause — from the hundreds of employees who purchase and wrap gifts to our volunteers who sort the packages to our supply chain and plant operations colleagues who help with coordination and transportation,” Short said. “Hundreds of children in our community will have coats and sweaters this winter thanks to their generosity and dedication to this endeavor. I thank everyone who participated.”

In addition to offering Holiday Hugs at MRMC, the giving spirit continued across the Maury Regional Health (MRH) system. Marshall Medical Center (MMC) in Lewisburg collected food items to be distributed through Hope Town to area families in need. MMC employees also purchased gifts for residents of NHC Lewisburg and gift cards for children served by Alternative Youth Services. Wayne Medical Center (WMC) in Waynesboro partnered with Primary Care–Waynesboro to provide gifts, gas cards and food cards to five local families in need, including 21 children and adults.

“We appreciate the opportunity to serve our communities at this special time of year,” said MRH CEO Alan Watson. “At Maury Regional Health, we are blessed to have an outstanding team of individuals who are committed to impacting the lives of not only our patients but also the lives of people throughout our service areas.”

Photo Caption: Pictured (l-r) are Brandon Ginsberg, supply chain specialist; volunteers Pam Langford, Suzanne Parks, Cindy Johnson, Alice Williams, Debbie Massey; Cindy Short, director of volunteer services; volunteer John Massey; and groundskeeper James Caruthers during the sorting and distribution of gifts for Holiday Hugs.

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