Guild members celebrate Valentine’s Day for patients of LLU Children’s Hospital
It’s hard to tell who had more fun at the 8th annual Teddy Bear Tea at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital on Valentine’s Day—was it the patients or the Guild members? Denise Hertel (standing), a member of the Loma Linda chapter of the Big Hearts for Little Hearts Guild, and Mindy Morrell (right), Guild liaison officer for the Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital Foundation, take a break from helping a patient (left) create a Valentine’s card. Judging from their smiles, everyone had a great time.
Again this year, as they have in the past, the patients of Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital made Valentine’s cards for someone special in their lives at a special Teddy Bear Tea hosted on Valentine’s Day by members of the Loma Linda chapter of the Little Hearts for Big Hearts Guild.
According to Eloise Habekost, president of the Loma Linda chapter of the Guild, the tea has been part of the Valentine’s Day calendar at Children’s Hospital since the Guild’s first year. “We served apple juice and had sugar cookies for the kids to decorate,” she says, recalling that first tea eight years ago.
This year, the Foundation Room on the first floor of Children’s Hospital served as headquarters for the tea itself, as Guild members set colorful tables with ample servings of juice and cookies to entertain the children. The children were then invited to join Guild volunteers at crafts tables in the foyer where they were able to make Valentine’s cards for special people in their lives.
“It may be for a parent or sibling or their favorite doctor or nurse,” Ms. Habekost notes. “It gives them the opportunity to forget they are sick by doing something for someone else.”
In preparation for the Teddy Bear Tea, Guild members donated countless hours of volunteer labor assembling refreshments and supplies, and cutting paper hearts for the kids to use in creating their Valentine’s cards.
“The Guild cuts about a thousand paper hearts of different sizes,” Ms. Habekost reports. The Guild is very eager to ensure that none of the children are left out. Since not all patients are well enough to come downstairs to enjoy the tea, Guild members walk the hallways and patient care areas bringing card-making supplies, a special Valentine’s book, and a teddy bear to children who can’t get out.
Zareh Sarrafian, MBA, administrator of Children’s Hospital, appreciates the work that Guild members do to bring joy to the patients. “The Big Hearts for Little Hearts Loma Linda Guild has historically been an extremely strong supporter and friend of Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital,” Mr. Sarrafian notes.
“As administrator of the hospital, I am most thankful for their wonderful contributions, both in financial help, and for their hands-on work that helps generate tremendous amounts of smiles and hope for our children and their families.”
By James Ponder