The holidays can be a difficult time for patients and their families facing illness.
Avera McKennan hospital employees have turned into Christmas elves, making sure 15 needy families will have a special day.
"We deliver a meal to each family, making sure that Christmas wasn't put on hold just because of an unexpected illness," said Traci Kistler Director of Annual Giving at the Avera McKennan Foundation.
"A lot of times families put groceries and other essentials on their list but along with that we try to give them special presents that will make their Christmas memorable," she said
Through the Avera McKennan Foundation, those in need are identified and departments through out the hospital reach out and adopt them. They make sure their Christmas Tree isn't bare and they feel the warmth of people who care. The gifts are tailored to each family. Social workers work with patients to identify what they need the most. But the spirit of giving is impacting more than the patient's life: those who give to the sick also receive.
"Without the support of our clinic I don't know that this particular family would have had much for Christmas," said Avera McKennan employee Traci Kistler. "Just because of the piling up of the medical bills and those types of expenses."
Added Traci Kistler: "The patients are just so grateful. They're grateful in the care they receive at the hospital and this is just another way we can demonstrate that compassion and the hospitality that we give all year round."
Giving doesn't stop once Christmas is over. Last year over two thousand patients received direct financial assistance from the foundation to cover various expenses.