Kids enjoyed face painting, music, snacks, a craft and a visit and gift from Santa. The gifts from Santa included a toy and different necessities each year, such as pajamas, winter gloves and hats and winter coats.
This year, the pandemic has cancelled plans for the breakfast event, so the group -- now named the Friends of Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center -- is donating gifts to children attending Early Intervention preschool in Luzerne and Wyoming counties. The gifts will be sent home to families to open on Christmas.
“The families that we served with the Breakfast with Santa event were very grateful each year,” said Laine Martin, a long-standing member of the Friends of Geisinger Wyoming Valley. “With a lot of people losing their jobs during the pandemic, we knew that this year there would be a great need.”
The group recently wrapped and bagged more than 200 gifts for students in the Early Intervention classrooms and their siblings. The classrooms, operated by the Hazleton Area School District, consist of children ages 3 to 5 who have developmental delays. The children receive specialized instruction for delays in speech, vision and hearing and receive occupational and physical therapies as well.
“We are happy to find a way to continue to offer some holiday cheer to this community,” Martin said. “We have heard that the families are extremely grateful since many could not provide gifts this holiday season.”
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a Research Institute and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. With nearly 24,000 employees and more than 1,700 employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.