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The Giving Tree

Who would have thought our Christmas tree would still be up?

Actually, it's no longer a Christmas tree, it's a Valentines, St. Paddy's, Spring, Summer, 4th of July, Back to School, and so on, tree.

Our awesome staff members Kathy Smith, Paul Vaclavik, Margaret DeRosier and Michelle Vega have been keeping our spirits up all year round with their decorations and fun festive antics in the office.

During September they struggled with a theme until Back to School sparked their creativity. They wanted to spread their good fortune and decided to rally the HCA troops and collect donations for an elementary school in need.

They made a connection with East Chicago's McKinley Elementary First Grade Teacher Barbara Berrones and she was more than enthusiastic to pick up the supplies for her students.

"We are so very grateful to Hospice of the Calumet Area for their help and caring," said Barb Berrones. "The kids were so excited to receive the supplies and they could sincerely use the supplies. Kindness goes a long way."

When the Highland/Griffith Chamber Back to School event was canceled this year and they received the news about HCA's initiative, Chamber Executive Director Melina Frazier brought boxes of supplies over and was more than happy to donate to the cause.

"We love to help communities in need, especially now because times have been challenging for so many," said Sherrill Adams, Adams All State Insurance. "We were more than happy to see that the supplies we collected went to good use."

Boxes of crayons, puzzles, headphones, markers, composition books, PlayDoh, pencils and gift cards were distributed to McKinley students last week.

"The reason I started the tree was to bring joy to people as soon as they walked through our doors," said Michelle Vega, Hospice of the Calumet Area bookkeeper. "Knowing the children are benefiting from our efforts really is what this initiative is all about. It brings great warmth and happiness to see the looks on their faces."

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