Foundation's annual holiday gift drive makes the season brighter for more than 800 patients01/18/23 01:30:pm
For many, the holidays can be both exciting and nerve-wracking with the pressures of organizing gatherings, finding the perfect gift for a loved one, decorating the house, and cooking feasts for large groups. But for patients at Rogers who have taken the brave step of entering treatment, the holidays can be an especially difficult time due to being away from their loved ones and experiencing the challenges that come with mental health and addiction treatment.
In 2014, Rogers Behavioral Health Foundation began hosting the annual “Give for a Better Day” Holiday Gift Drive. With the help of the community and Rogers employees, the Foundation collects gifts of unused games, toys, activity books, winter clothing, pajamas, blankets, gift cards, and other monetary gifts to provide a present to patients of all ages and levels of care in the state of Wisconsin.
This year, more than 70 individuals, businesses, and organizations held gift drives for this important cause. Overall, gifts were distributed to approximately 830 patients across 61 programs, including the supportive living space in Sheboygan.
These gifts go a long way in providing comfort and lessening anxiety during what can often be a challenging and lonely time. Every year, the Foundation receives notes of gratitude from patients and employees alike for providing them with a joyful surprise.
“The residents were absolutely ecstatic when they came out this morning. Many were very surprised and shared that they were not expecting gifts! We were able to spend over an hour opening gifts and each child was able to show another what they got, which was awesome. One resident shared that they were very thankful and was anticipating a stocking of fidgets but was surprised when everything was perfect and picked out just for them. The resident expressed how thankful they were and said how awesome it was, even though they were here.” ~ Lisa James, float therapist, Oconomowoc
“In Eating Disorder residential care for children, we often have residents who are struggling with not being home with their families during the holidays. The gifts from the Holiday Drive show our residents that people care about them and [these gifts] allow them to have a special holiday gift-giving experience even if they are not at home.” ~ Brittani Bowie, therapist, Eating Disorder Recovery child and adolescent residential care
“The girls seemed to enjoy the gifts a lot! They all waited for each other to open their gifts and put their hats on together while smiling. One of our girls said that it’s like we catered the hats to each of their personalities! She spoke about how very sweet it was and how much she appreciated it!” ~ Scarlett VanDerVelde, residential care specialist, Nashotah Center for DBT Female Adolescent Residential Care
Just as each Rogers team member has a story of why they work in behavioral healthcare, each of our donors has a reason why they give so freely so that our patients may benefit. For many of our employees, giving back to the Holiday Gift Drive is a natural way to show their gratitude for Rogers, and their belief in our patients’ ability to rise above their challenges and reach their full potential for health and well-being.
Here’s what Rogers employees said about their donations:
“After reading about the Foundation’s Holiday Drive, I reached out to my colleagues and asked if anyone wanted to participate, then reached out to the Foundation to ask about the most requested but overlooked gifts. There is so much need for mental health treatment and we all feel driven by the mission of the organization to do what we can to support and help our patients.” ~ Deb Brown, digital media and marketing specialist
“I received information from the Foundation that outlined several ways to support the Holiday Drive. Gift cards seemed easy and effective, and they are especially appreciated by our patients and residents. God has been very good to me and blessed me in countless ways. It is my privilege to pass along a small portion of that blessing to others in the hope that they will be encouraged.” ~ **Steve Fletcher, career planning and development consultant
“I participate every year and enjoy doing it.” ~ Sue Benzine, residential care specialist
“This is my first year working at the Foundation. It has been so rewarding to meet patients and their families from all over the country. As the donations [to the Holiday Drive] came rolling in, I was inspired to join in. I am a firm believer that it is the little things in life that make a difference and the Holiday Drive is a perfect example of just that!” ~ Kristine Anderson, receptionist, Rogers Behavioral Health Foundation
Giving is contagious! Feeling inspired and looking for a way to give a little extra to patients at Rogers? There are many ways to get involved in the Foundation’s mission: hold a Coping Skills Drive in May for National Mental Health Awareness Month, start an Angel Fund drive for patients with your department, host a Facebook fundraiser for your birthday, or create your own custom fundraising event! To learn more about how to help fundraise, visit the Foundation’s website.
You can also donate directly to patients via the Amazon Angel Fund Wish List. This list includes the most requested and needed items from Angel Fund requests submitted on behalf of patients by their treatment teams. To browse our list or donate, click here.