NEW BRITAIN – Employees at the Hospital of Central Connecticut donated 260 items as gifts for local families in need Friday morning coordinating with New Britain EMS and The Friendship Center.
A New Britain EMS ambulance pulled up in front of the Hospital of Central Connecticut Friday morning, where it was loaded up with bags of items donated by hospital employees. Items donated included gift cards, bedding, clothing, toys, art supplies and more. The gifts will be donated to 15 local families and will make the holidays brighter for nearly 35 children.
Bryan Spyros, senior communications specialist at the Hospital of Central Connecticut, explained that each year The Friendship Center sends a list of local families in need to the hospital.
“We put the word out to our staff and colleagues, who are then able to ‘adopt a family’ and buy all of the items that the family needs,” said Spyros. “The items are then picked up by EMS and delivered to the Friendship Center.”
Cheryl Belomizi, Philanthropy Department Development Officer with the Hospital of Central Connecticut, said that this initiative has been going strong for eight years. This year saw the biggest collection yet.
“It grows every year,” she said. “Last year was phenomenal; the wish list for families went out in our internal newsletter and in less than 24 hours all 200 items were purchased for the 13 families that year. We then told the Friendship Center to give us an even bigger list this year. People are just in the giving spirit and I think that it has a lot to do with covid and people wanting to help out in any way that they can.”
This year, Belomizi said, employees started making phone calls about supporting the collection within five minutes of the newsletter going out.
After the items are picked up by New Britain EMS and the Friendship Center, employees are invited to the Friendship Center to wrap them as holiday gifts. From there, they will be hand-delivered to families at a later date.
“The Hospital of Central Connecticut, the New Britain Fire Department and New Britain EMS are the only ones who do this for the Friendship Center,” said Belomizi. “Between the three of us, we give gifts to 75 families.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.