The combination of a struggling economy and flu season could add up to bad news for many hospitals, but McDuffie Regional Medical Center received a little boost of love this year.
The hospital auxiliary's annual Tree of Love brought in $3,012.00 this past Christmas, according to auxiliary president Ray Wight.
"The thing about this community is regardless of the economic structure, they are still tremendous givers," Mr. Wight said. "Without them giving like they do, that would make our job that much harder."
The auxiliary uses the money they raise each year to make purchases for various departments in the hospital. This year's entire earnings were used to buy furniture for the Emergency Room waiting room, where those waiting have more important things to worry about than their surroundings.
"The furniture that was in there was cracking and hard to clean, so we decided this was an important cause to use all the money for," Mr. Wight said, adding that the area now has all new seats.
Even though the Christmas lights are packed away, Mr. Wight said anyone can make a donation to the Tree of Love any time. The Tree of Love serves as a memorial in the community and a way to honor loved ones. Many people make donations at the time of a funeral, and the family of the deceased gets a notice that a light will be placed in memory of that person on the next Tree of Love. To do this, simply make a check payable to "the Tree of Love' and mail it to the hospital.
Even in bad economic times, Mr. Wight said donating to the Tree of Love is a good investment because "every single penny goes to the hospital. There are no administrative costs involved, so it goes to a good cause."
The auxiliary currently has 45 members. In addition to the Tree of Love, the members hold special sales for fundraisers, volunteer in the different hospital departments and assist patients.
Anyone interested in joining the auxiliary or making a donation should call Mr. Wight at 706-597-9875, or Eva Newsome, director of volunteer services at 706-595-1411.