Once again, employees with a local health system have given back to their co-workers for Christmas.

Once again, employees with a local health system have given back to their co-workers for Christmas.

“This is the fourth year for our employees to provide what we call the Freeman Family Christmas,” said Shawn McGrew, director of service excellence for Freeman Health System. “So much during the year, we are giving back to the community, giving to our patients and this is a chance for our employees to take care of one another. Our Freeman family is very strong and this year, we have been able to help 96 families that will have a brighter Christmas because of this program.

Employees are able to supply for this program or individuals are able to nominate others that they know they may be having a difficult time during the holiday season. We don’t turn anyone away. So this has been an opportunity to really demonstrate the generosity and compassion of the employees here.”

Last year, a total of 72 families received gifts. The employees who receive help are from any of the Freeman Health System’s campuses such as Freeman West Hospital, Freeman East Hospital, Freeman Neosho Hospital, etc.

Late last week, a conference room up at the Freeman Business Center in Joplin was transformed from tables and chairs to numbered boxes, one for each of the 96 families. For a couple of days, employees sorted out the countless donations to the assigned boxes.

“We purchase toys, clothing, shoes, other gifts for each family member, in addition to food and we do gift cards for each member each of the adults in the family as well,” he said.

After sorting, items were delivered to the designated Freeman Health System campuses and given to the employees who will receive them – just in time for Christmas.

Renee Denton, director of administrative services at Freeman Neosho Hospital, said she was pleased with the program.

“I think that it is absolutely something that the staff look forward to and take to heart very seriously,” Denton said.

“Certainly these hard economic times are not only occurring outside of the physical walls of our facility and we recognize that we have our own family here in Neosho that has a difficult time assuring that their family is able to celebrate and have a wonderful holiday season. Our staff here take it very personally and want to make certain that they are able to assist any of their own family here within Freeman. We are such a close-knit group and certainly the whole generosity and attitude of giving, we have very, very giving hearts here. They are more than willing to reach out and help, not only beyond our walls but certainly during our holiday season.”

How it all started

“We have what we call ‘Quest to be the Best,’ ” McGrew said. “We have a number of teams throughout the organization that are focused on everything from patient satisfaction to employee engagement, this came from one of those teams. They looked and said, ‘our employees give back: United Fund, United Way, (etc.) a number of different initiatives in the community, what can we do for our own people?’”