On Thursday, December 19th at 5pm, over 50 deserving community youths gathered with their parents in the 11th Floor Executive Suite of Nashville General Hospital (NGH). Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and daughter Claus and nephew Claus all were dressed in the traditional Red and White Santa attire and greeted the children, and rewarded them for being so good all year. The youths received over 400 beautifully wrapped presents. The employees of the hospital had ‘adopted’ them and provided each one with gifts ranging in value from $300 to $500.
This is the sixth year that the Nashville General Hospital Board has hosted the event for the community children, each of whom is a good student from a working-poor family. The target age is 4 – 8 years but children as young as 2 months and as old as 11 have participated.
Nashville Vice-Mayor Jim Schulman, several city & state elected officials, and Hospital Authority Board members joined with hospital executive leadership and community leaders to celebrate the “best Christmas Party in the whole wide world.”
Longtime Nashville minister & hospital Foundation Board member Enoch Fuzz has spearheaded organizing the party over the past 6 years, and looks to pass it on to a younger team of volunteers.
“This event shows a positive side of our community,” says Rev. Fuzz, who has been pastor of Corinthian Baptist Church for 35 years, “and a positive side of the great public servants who work at Nashville General Hospital.”
Fuzz says several years ago, one of the Nashville General Hospital Board members had floated the idea of spending $5,000 for a Christmas tree for the top of the hospital. Instead, the idea of spending money to buy warm winter coats and shoes for children to return to school in January came about. So they began a program where children of working poor families, good students who were well-behaved and not relatives of hospital employees could be given a good Christmas.
All of the children received books, coats, clothing outfits, shoes and socks, and toys from their ‘wish lists’ submitted by the church or sponsor of each child. The children came up to the Executive Level after a Pizza Party for them in the Albion Street Grill on the lower level of the hospital.
Vice Mayor Jim Schulman welcomed the youth and their parents, noting that school is almost out and they will have some wonderful gifts from Santa Claus, nephew Claus and Mrs. Claus (“Candy Cane”). He led a chorus of Jingle Bells and the youth then orderly visited with Santa and his helpers to receive their gifts.