ENGLEWOOD — St. Bernard Hospital and Health Care Center plans its first Christmas tree-lighting ceremony next month along with other free events for the community.
The Community Tree Lighting Celebration is from noon-1 p.m. Dec. 2 at the hospital's main entrance, 326 W. 64th St. Hospital officials said they plan to make the event annual as a way to foster a stronger relationship with Englewood residents.
"This is a great way to give back to a community that has supported us for many years," said Danny Rollis, vice president of ancillary and patient support services at St. Bernard. "There will be a countdown and everything just like it is done Downtown at the Daley Center tree lighting. We want to create that 'wow' effect once the lights are turned on."
Charles Holland, president and CEO of St. Bernard Hospital, will turn on the tree lights, Rollis said. Refreshments will be served.
The 20-foot tree will remain up until Jan. 1, said Derek Michaels, a spokesman for St. Bernard. Residents are encouraged to bring their children to the tree throughout the month of December to take photos.
"We want families to enjoy the tree and come by the hospital to see it as often as they would like," Rollis said.
On Dec. 19, the hospital will hold its annual Adopt-A-Family program where each department gives away clothes, food and Christmas toys to a family referred to the hospital by local churches and nonprofits.
Last year nearly 60 families benefited from the event, Michaels said.
"Each year local organizations refer needy families to us and then employees from each department pitch in to buy things for them," Michaels said. "It is truly a labor of love by our employees, many of who are Englewood residents themselves. Families receive so much they often need a car to get everything home."
From 2-5 p.m. Dec. 20, the hospital will host its annual Christmas party for the community.
There will be free toys for children and refreshments. Santa Claus will be on-site to take photos with children.