NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (Dec. 18, 2013) – More than fifteen children and their families received a surprise visit from Santa Claus during Gulfside Regional Hospice’s Children’s Holiday Party on Friday, Dec.13 at Cottee River Elementary School in New Port Richey. He dropped by to pass out gifts and take pictures with the children.
The holiday party is one of the several events throughout the year hosted by Gulfside’s Mending Hearts Children’s Program, which is designed to help children dealing with the loss of a loved one. This year, 37 children filled out a wish list of three items that they would like to receive from Santa Claus. Gulfside employees were then given the opportunity to choose a child’s list to fulfill anonymously so that each child could receive gifts.
“The smiles on the faces of the children were beautiful throughout the afternoon,” said Karl Knox, director of bereavement Gulfside. “At the party, the children enjoy singing, opening up gifts and sharing a meal with their family and friends. Most importantly, they realize that even in the midst of their grief, they can experience joy at our Holiday Party.”
During the party, the children and their families enjoyed a pizza dinner, holiday music and animal balloons made by Gulfside employee Angela Dillow dressed as Tippy the Clown. A second party for children in East Pasco is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 19 at St. Rita’s Catholic Church in Dade City.
The mission of Gulfside Regional Hospice is to provide compassionate, quality care to individuals and their loved ones as they face life-limiting illnesses. All bereavement services are provided free of charge to Pasco County residents regardless of previous participation with hospice, and includes support groups, the Mending Hearts Kids’ Program and individual counseling. For more information about Gulfside Regional Hospice services, call 800-561-4883 or visit http://www.GRHospice.org.