GREENFIELD — Cory Lacy was astonished when his phone rang and the person on the line told him some local philanthropists wanted to buy his family Christmas presents.
Lacy, his fiancée and their two children spent a few months earlier this year staying at the Hope House, the Greenfield-based homeless shelter. They’ve since found a home of their own in the New Palestine area and were all the more surprised to learn even though they had moved on, help would keep coming.
The call came from a group known as the Circle of Kindness, which comprises about 100 Hancock Regional Hospital employees who contribute to a fund used to benefit various community organizations and efforts. After the shelter’s executive director, Andrea Mallory, reached out to the hospital, the group decided to adopt six families who live or had recently stayed in the homeless shelter, said hospital marketing director Jenn Cox. They asked the families for their clothing sizes and wish lists, before shopping for gifts, wrapping and delivering them, Cox said.
“It gets a little tougher this time of year, especially for the kids,” Cox said. “It’s getting cold, and everyone needs a little more holiday cheer.”
Members of the Circle of Kindness contacted the families before delivering the gifts over the past two weeks, Cox said.
For Lacy and his family, the group’s volunteers even wrapped some of the presents, lightening the family’s holiday to-do list.
Gifts were delivered on Monday, and the family set them aside to open with their children, ages 8 and 11, on Christmas Day.
“For us, going from the Hope House to having our own place, being tight on money with everything, it couldn’t have came at a better time,” he said. “They helped us out more than I can thank them for.”
In addition to assisting current or former Hope House residents, Circle of Kindness members also combined the social media forces of the hospital and the shelter to encourage donations, offering to match up to $500. The Hope House was able to raise a total of $1,160 through the Giving Tuesday social media campaign, Mallory said.
Circle of Kindness was created about a year ago to give Hancock Health employees a way to support agencies throughout the county, said Amanda Everidge, hospital healthy community manager. Each person who decides to be a member pays about $200 a year, deducted from their paycheck, which goes to organizations like county school foundations, Cox said.
The group has supported such efforts as Relay for Life, the Great American Smokeout and more, contributing some $20,000 to various organizations, Cox said.
“It’s a chance for Hancock Health to provide an opportunity for kinds acts to people we support throughout the year,” Everidge said. “It’s really about living our values every day.”