LOWELL — Of the 60,000 $1 tickets sold since Nov. 25, at Tufts Medicine/Lowell General Hospital’s 19th annual Themed Basket Raffle fundraiser for Sun Santa, only 23 people — the basket count representing the communities served by The Sun – could win a prize.
But everyone came away a winner in Monday afternoon’s draw, knowing that their donations will provide aid to local families and toys for children on Christmas Day.
This sense of joy was noted by Lowell Sun Charities President Kevin Coughlin during his opening remarks. He thanked the hospital and its CEO, Jody White, for the institution’s many years of generous giving.
“It almost leaves me speechless to see what you’ve done with that draw,” Coughlin said. “Over the years, this facility has raised over $1.2 million and remains one of Sun Santa’s largest donors. We are truly grateful to all of the families who will receive help through donations from people. from here who give themselves body and soul to the community.
Last year, the event was held remotely via YouTube. This year, staff and members of the general public once again gathered in the auditorium to watch the draw for baskets worth between $400 and $4,000, including cash, lottery tickets, gift cards, vacation packages, technology products and food. and drink selections.
As he has done in years past, White accentuated the design.
“It’s an honor and a pleasure to be here,” he told the audience. “This hospital prides itself on putting people first, and it shows here today. Thirty departments donated goods worth $15,000 for these 23 baskets.
Some Cancer Center staff members, who donated the “Pizza! Pizza!” basket, valued at $775, and included a fire-and-stone-baked pizza oven by Ooni, as well as pizza-making supplies, eagerly awaited to see if their ticket would be picked.
Nicole Sievert, a Tyngsboro native who now lives in New Hampshire, is a practice manager at the center who has been in past draws.
“I made an offer this year, of course,” she said. “I’ve won a basket in the past, and my mom has won once. Each year, a different department within the Cancer Center will offer the basket theme and products. This year it was the radiation oncology team.
His practice supervisor, Lisa Rosado, from Tewksbury, also made an offer and said she “hoped to win”.
Even Father Christmas, also known as Paul Beausoleil, from Dracut, said he was “ringing the season” and had bid on several baskets.
White offered a running comment during the drawing calling out the work of the departments that contributed to the baskets.
The pharmacy department donated the “Cosy Christmas” basket with a hand-knit blanket and a Yankee Candle. White said the department operates 24/7, working the floors for patient medications and an in-house retail pharmacy.
“Our pharmacists are world class,” he said.
Other baskets bore titles such as “Baking the world into a better place”, from the Treasury, which White said hoped meant treats and not “cooking the hospital books”, to laughter from the audience.
The “Have Yourself a Merry Little Cocktail” basket was valued at $1,600 worth of premium mixers and supplies. TeamWalk Manager Andrea Jackson, who was holding the raffle bags for White, joked everyone was going to the winner’s house after the event.
The festive mood continued with White drawing the winner of the “Million Dollar Tree”, donated by the Supply Chain Department. The basket included $240 worth of scratch tickets. White said the half-billion-dollar budget hospital depends on the department keeping the supply chain running smoothly for patients and staff.
Basket No. 23 was undeniably the most popular, with Jackson holding a large red bag from which White pulled the single ticket for “It’s starting to look a lot like Gametime”, donated by the technology and computer departments. It featured what White described as “some Xbox S series something or other,” jokingly, among other gimmicks.
All jokes and fun aside, White said, the basket raffle is a “time when the hospital stands alongside our community, putting the people of Lowell first during Christmas. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who made and bid on baskets.
When the draw ended, no one in the audience had won – participation was not required to win – but Rosado said she wasn’t too disappointed as “all the money goes to a good cause,” and it made her vacation bright. .
Here are some other upcoming events for Santa Claus:
• Lowell’s Polish American Veterans and Ladies Auxiliary will host their 14th Annual Christmas Benefit Santa Party at the Polish National Home/Dom Polski, 10 Coburn St., Lowell, from 1-5 p.m. This year the event is held in honor of Robert “Bob” Jaracz. The day will include raffles, music, food and a visit from Santa Claus. $5 donation requested, children under 5 admitted free.
• The people of Westford Remembers/Team Forever Young will host their annual Dinner for a Cause event at Evviva Trattoria in Westford from 5:30-9:00 p.m. The event includes gift basket raffles. A portion of the dinner and raffle proceeds benefit Sun Santa.
• State Rep. Jim Arciero, D-Westford, will host his annual event at Littleton Police Headquarters, 500 Great Road, from 10 a.m. to noon. Participants are asked to bring a check payable to The Sun Santa Fund and/or a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots.
• The Mayor of Lowell, Sokhary Chau, will hold his third annual Holiday Drive & Drop event at the Lowell Boys & Girls Club at Greater Lowell, 657 Middlesex St., Lowell, from noon to 2 p.m. Attendees are asked to bring a check for the Sun Santa Fund and/or a new, unwrapped toy for local children.
Secure online donations can be made at lowellsun.com/sun-santa or by mail to The Sun Santa Fund, PO Box 2439, Lowell, MA 01851.
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