People are already taking action to ensure the hospital grounds are as festive as ever, this December.
Linda Peters is Executive Director with the Bethesda Foundation. She says that generous community members are already calling in to sponsor trees for this year’s Gifts of Light fundraising campaign.
“It warms my heart to know people are thinking about the Bethesda Foundation, thinking about supporting health care in our community, and are thinking about honouring loved ones by sponsoring a tree.”
Every year, the Bethesda Foundation hosts its Gifts of Light campaign. Funds raised go to purchase much-needed health care equipment for the Bethesda Regional Health Centre in Steinbach, and to enhance various health care services such as mental health supports or primary care supports.
Peters says the fundraising campaign not only serves to light up the trees at the hospital, but also ensures festive red trees appear on light standards along the medians of highways 12 and 52 through Steinbach. She explains the red trees are a sponsorship option many choose if they wish to honour multiple people.
There are many reasons one may wish to sponsor a tree, either on the hospital grounds or along a median. Many honour the memory of loved ones who have passed. Sometimes trees are sponsored by grandparents, with their grandchildren’s names on the sign. Others sponsor trees to honour those who work in health care.
“Throughout December and January, health care workers come to work in the dark and they go home in the dark,” conveys Peters. “It's really nice to have the lights shining brightly, to give them a bit of a lift as they leave or arrive.”
Peters adds that others have sponsored their trees early to request a specific location, and this has added to the great response the Bethesda Foundation has already seen to their Gifts of Light fundraising campaign this year.
“There's always a project we need to raise money for,” shares Peters. “In the past, we’ve built a Cancer Care Centre, Crisis Stabilization Unit, and Primary Care Centre. Now for the last few years we’ve been working on raising the community contribution required for the Rest Haven expansion. Money raised always goes toward health care projects here in our community.”
After a two-year hiatus, the Bethesda Foundation is excited to bring back the full tree lighting ceremony, which will be happening on the hospital grounds in Steinbach on Sunday December 4th, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.
“We will have hot dogs and hot chocolate, wagon rides and fireworks, a lot of family fun for everyone!” enthuses Peters. “And some caroling, definitely.”
While sponsorships and donations are accepted by the Bethesda Foundation at all times, ideally sponsorships will be sent in well before the tree lighting on December 4th, so signs can be ordered and set up and the community can see them at the ceremony.
“It's important to have health care close to home, and Gifts of Light is a great opportunity to support much-needed health care projects in our community,” says Peters. “But it's also just a great thing to do for people who are in the hospital or those who are visiting them, and those living at the personal care home. Having the hospital grounds lit up is just a real sign of hope and healing for them as well.” To sponsor a tree to browse sponsorship opportunities, please visit https://bethesdafoundation.ca/gift-of-lights/