SALINAS, CA, DECEMBER 12, 2017- It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System (SVMHS). A nine foot tall Christmas tree and large wreaths adorn the main entrance of the hospital on East Romie Lane. The lamp posts leading towards the main entrance of the Hospital are decorated with garland, gold colored bows and white lights. At night, light projectors provide the appearance of snow falling on the tall cedar pine trees located across from the Hospital entrance.

“We want our patients, their families and our staff to feel the spirit of the holiday season,” says Pete Delgado, President/CEO of Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System. “At night, the main entrance of the hospital looks like a winter wonderland. This is a holiday tradition we want to continue for many years to come.”

Service League volunteers have beautifully decorated the Appreciation Tree located in the Merrill Lobby waiting area. The tree has been placed on a rotating pedestal and has been decorated with dozens of small white angel ornaments.

“The Appreciation Tree is a very special tree,” says Diane Downey, Board Member of the SVMHS Service League. “Each angel has the name of a person who brought joy or who continues to bring happiness to a person’s life. It’s a great way to honor a loved one.”

People can purchase the angel ornaments for five dollars each and the proceeds are used to buy items that are included in the cancer comfort bags given to patients at the Cancer Resource Center. After the holidays, the ornaments are sent to the person who purchased them.

Holiday traditions also extend to the labor and delivery unit where every baby born during the month of December receives a hand knitted red hat. Last year, dedicated volunteers provided red hats for each of the 131 babies born during December. Volunteers donating their time and talent hand knit the caps with soft red yarn provided by the SVMHS Service League.

“This is a wonderful tradition,” says Shannon Graham, Director of Volunteer & Health Career Services. “We are so grateful to our volunteers for knitting these caps. It’s a special gift for the baby and their family.”

The red hat program became so popular, that now all babies born at SVMHS throughout the year receive a hand knitted hat. The hats are knitted or crocheted in various colors and patterns by our dedicated volunteers.

Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System is also proud to host a toy drive with the Salinas Valley League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). Large boxes were placed throughout the hospital and other off sight properties making it convenient for employees to drop of their gifts. The toys will be distributed to children 4 to 12 years of age from the Alisal Elementary School District before Christmas Eve.

“Thanks to the generosity of staff at Salinas Valley Memorial, hundreds of under privileged children will have new toys on Christmas,” says Berna Maya, a member of Salinas Valley LULAC who has been organizing this toy drive with SVMHS for several years. “We love seeing the excitement on the children’s faces when they receive their gifts.”