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Santa and his elves visit Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph

Ascension Via Christi Volunteers Partners in Caring’s Sewing 101 group in Wichita works year-round to create comfort items for patients. But come Christmas, the group takes on the role of "Santa's elves,” creating special holiday gifts for hospitalized patients.

Sewing 101 volunteer Marie Jones and Linda Garrison, the group’s leader, recently spent an afternoon distributing tubs of their handmade creations. Says Marie: "We like creating things that bring comfort to patients, especially during the holiday season when things get extra-stressful."

At Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph, the NewLife Center received soft, roomy pouches to give to parents to wrap up their “new gift of life.” The Senior Behavioral Health unit received handmade lap quilts to help keep their patients warm and cozy. Childbirth Education received swaddling blankets to distribute to new moms. “If our gifts happen to be anyone’s only gift this holiday, I want them to know that each item was made with absolute love and care by our volunteers,” says Linda. 

The volunteer elves also helped make a visit from Santa to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit extra special by giving each baby a holiday-themed blanket and matching beanie. NICU associates took pictures of Santa visiting babies and gave them to parents as a holiday keepsake. “This is my favorite visit to make each December and the blankets matched me perfectly this year,” says Santa. 

Michelle Armbrister, director of the NewLife Center and NICU, noted that the holiday gifts and visit helped lighten spirits during this time of year when patients and parents often are away from their extended family. “The blankets are an adorable way of bringing Christmas here in addition to Santa swaddling babies in them,” she says. 

To get involved with Sewing 101, email Linda Garrison at davidlinda1946@gmail.com or call 316-733-5908. For more information about volunteering, visit viachristi.org/volunteers.

PHOTOS: 

  1. Marie Jones and Linda Garrison lug tubs of gifts around Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph.
  2. Jones and Garrison posing in the NewLife Center with wrapped gifts.
  3. A new mom wrapped her 2-day-old baby up in a Sewing101 gift pouch. 
  4. Michelle Armbrister poses with the new NICU blanket and volunteers.
  5. Santa poses with a sleeping baby in the NICU.
  6. Parents and their baby pose with Santa.
  7. Santa and new parents look on to their small miracle.
  8. Santa swaddles up a baby in the blankets donated by Sewing 101.
  9. Santa smiles with a mom and her baby.
  10. The small baby had Santa choked up.
  11. Santa poses with the Ascension arch before visiting more children. 
About Taylor Valdez

Curly hair with straight priorities. Dedicated workaholic and weekend adventurer. When I'm not writing or working, I'm shopping, chowing down on local bites or binging Netflix.