Giving Tree Spreads Holiday Cheer to St. Francis Health Services Residents

The holidays will be a little merrier for residents at St. Francis Health Services, thanks to the generous staff at North Shore Healthcare’s Support Center in downtown Milwaukee.

From left, Vicki Green, CARES Committee member, Linda LaFore, Life Enrichment Specialist at St. Francis Health Services, Amy Waller, CARES Committee member, and Sarah Robinson, Manager of Creative Services for North Shore, deliver gifts to residents at St. Francis Health Services.

Spearheaded by North Shore’s CARES Committee, staff members purchased holiday gifts for 27 residents for St. Francis Health’s Giving Tree. A nursing home in the St. Francis community, St. Francis was randomly chosen as the recipient of the Giving Tree project. Residents asked for gifts, such as clothing, toiletries, candy, snacks, and sodas. Other residents were more detailed with their asks, including requests for a “Green Bay Packers baseball hat” and “pink lipstick and eyeliner.”

For some St. Francis residents, these may be the only Christmas gifts they receive, knowing that not all family and friends can visit this time of year, especially given the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s important that our residents know, even from afar, we are thinking of them this holiday season,” said Amy Waller, Director of Central Billing for North Shore and member of the CARES Committee.

St. Francis Health Executive Director Ann Lopez said she was extremely grateful to have their facility chosen as the recipient for the first annual Giving Tree.

“It makes our hearts full to have caring people donating their time and items to our residents to have a wonderful Christmas,” she said. “We have a wonderful Christmas party here with the residents. Usually, families and Santa are here to enjoy the festivities, fun, food, and gifts. Due to COVID, it will just be our staff and residents again this year, but we should have a blast. Thank you all for spreading holiday cheer with the residents of St. Francis. We are truly grateful.”

CARES (Courteous, Attitude, Reliable, Engage, Satisfaction) is centered around North Shore’s customer experience, which covers many facets, such as how employees engage with customers, interact with each other, and respond to concerns. CARES was initially rolled out at the Milwaukee-based Support Center but has since expanded to other North Shore centers, each having their own CARES Committee.

CARES Committee members Vicki Green, left, and Amy Waller, had two car loads full of gifts for the residents!

For Waller, CARES has grown to become more than she imagined. “This has grown into how we can support each other, how we can support our centers, and how we can support our community,” she said.

Speaking of supporting the community, the Support Center CARES Committee engages in different fundraisers throughout the year to support the Alzheimer’s Association, which directly impacts residents in North Shore’s own nursing homes. Additionally, CARES focuses on fostering teamwork and collaboration company wide. Employees participate in Halloween costume and pumpkin carving and painting contests and recognize each other with “CARES coupons” and thank you cards.

“I believe that our CARES Committee here (at the Support Center) is not only living the philosophy but has grown into what we want to see as our company’s culture,” Waller said.

Special thanks to CARES Committee members Amy Waller, Brenda Mitchell, Casandra Copening, Donna Elliott, Jennifer Thurow, Kat Davis, Paul Peshek, Tracy Reid, and Vicki Green for all your hard work!