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The Small Act of Kindness that Grew Big

December 20, 2023

A small act of kindness many years ago has evolved into an annual project at Anderson Healthcare.

Now simply known as The Christmas Families Project, this heartwarming initiative showcases the true spirit of camaraderie and empathy that exists within the healthcare system’s close-knit community.  Each year one or more colleague families in need are anonymously, “adopted for Christmas.” 

Recognizing the importance of standing together during challenging times, the healthcare system’s staff-led initiative aims to provide Christmas presents for the colleague’s family.  The project is spearheaded by the Care Coordination Department at Anderson Hospital and chaired by Amy Grulke, Care Coordination Manager.  “This started with the Social Services Department then led by Nancy Vetter many years ago,” said Amy.  “I took over this project in 2014, but have been involved since 2005.”  

“Our healthcare community is built on the principles of compassion and support, not only for our patients but also for one another,” said Amy.  “It is truly inspiring to witness our staff come together to help a colleague in need.” 

The outpouring of support from the staff demonstrates the incredible bond that exists within the healthcare community at Anderson Healthcare.  “I am always amazed by the generosity of the people who work here.  So many people get involved and we are always able to do more than what we plan in the beginning.”  By rallying together, these compassionate individuals are not only helping colleagues in need, but also reinforcing the system’s commitment to fostering a culture of care and support. 

This year, the project started out helping 5 families, then grew to 7 families.  “I love the last week of collecting. Every year we have a moment where we wonder if we are going to fill all of the lists, but I always know we will and we always have,” said Amy. 

Christmas Families are anonymous to everyone except the Care Coordination Department. 

Suggestions for those in need come from co-workers, managers and/or directors.