The Giving Tree, founded in 2018 through our Employee Focus Committee, was created as a way to provide assistance to kids and families in need during the Christmas season. Our first year, working with the City of Windom staff along with Sanford Clinics Windom & Mountain Lake, we sponsored a total of 55 kids in Cottonwood County. In 2019, we were able to raise that number to 71 kids and expanded our reach to include Jackson County. This year, continuing our partnership with the City of Windom and Sanford Clinics, we added the Windom Ambulance Service, Windom Fire, Windom Police, Windom Chamber of Commerce Office, and the Windom Kiwanis Club. Through our joint efforts, we were able to sponsor a whopping 126 kids in our community!
The process behind the Giving Tree makes for a very busy October through December. Each WAH Department and local community partner is asked for a number of kids they will sponsor with a recommended gift amount between $25 to $40. Having a set number of kids we can sponsor, we reach out to a local organization who identifies kids and families that may not otherwise get gifts during the Holidays. The organization asks for wish lists from each child, collecting and distributing the wish lists to us. All personal information is removed before the lists are sent to us, so kids and families are completely anonymous. We look to have the wish lists back to those who’ve committed to sponsoring children prior to Thanksgiving/Black Friday if they wish to take advantage of any deal shopping.
Once the gifts have been purchased by those participating, they are brought to WAH to be wrapped. All gifts are documented prior to wrapping, so parents/guardians will know exactly what is being given to their children. Gift wrapping is done by our WAH Auxiliary and staff. This year, with their collective effort, we invested 34 hours wrapping 360 gifts for all 126 children!
After wrapping is completed the gifts are ready to be distributed. This year, in coordination with the Windom Chamber of Commerce, a special parade route was created to transport the gifts. The gifts were picked up by Windom Emergency Services crews and were transported through Windom to help bring attention to children in need. After the gifts arrived at the Emergency Services building, they were transported to our local organization to be distributed to kids in both Cottonwood and Jackson County.
Part of our core values at Windom Area Health are Teamwork, Stewardship and Excellence. Through our Giving Tree project, we see these values prevalent in our community. It is our hope that the children and families sponsored in this event enjoy it as much as we do. We would like to thank everyone involved in in this event for their participation and involvement in being able to give back to our community! Thank you!!
Kim Armstrong, Executive Director of Compliance, Foundation and Auxiliary
Travis Eichstadt, IT Technician
Rob Newman, Imaging Technician