Mercy Hospital’s Gingerbread Tag program
For over eighteen years Sierra Forever Families and Mercy Hospital have partnered to make sure that every child and youth in foster care has plenty to be joyful for at Christmas. The partnership developed through Melissa Past of Sierra and Yvonne Lo, RN of Mercy Hospital. Both of these people are passionate about serving children and youth and wanted to make sure that kids in foster care were not forgotten. Being that medical staff has a heart for helping others, this partnership was perfect! The program, now known as the Gingerbread Tag program, has grown each year since its inception.
Every yea the hospital provides gifts that are on the wish lists of each child or teen. Oftentimes, the gifts are bicycles, music players, video game systems, sports equipment, Legos, stuffed animals, books and educational toys. Mercy staff participants are called “Santa’s” and they pick a Gingerbread Tag from the tree Yvonne Lo creates. As the need increases year after year, more tags are given to the hospital for their “Santa’s” to fulfill. No requests are turned away. In mid- December the Sierra elves pack up their sleigh and bring the colorful gift bags to Sierra where they are given to the child’s social worker for delivery. Other children in the home are remembered as well. A record 140 Gingerbread Tags were distributed to Mercy Hospital staff this year.
Seeing the faces of Mercy staff watching as the gifts are carted through the halls is very moving, as everyone knows that this team is making some child very happy this holiday. They know that foster children and teens are sometimes a forgotten segment of the population that needs to have a sense of being loved and remembered. Foster and adoptive parents, some of whom are relatives of the child or teen have tears in their eyes as they feel blessed by the outpouring of love and care.
We thank Mercy Hospital staff for their wonderful display of holiday spirit and hope that this beneficial program will continue as long as it is needed.
If you would like to donate gifts to children in foster care, please contact us at 916.368.5114, or donate online at sierraff.org.