For more than 30 years, employees at the University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare have worked to fulfill wishes during the holiday season. Each year, the Circle of Love program has expanded and reached more children in and around Fayette County.
More magical every year
Planning begins in July and a committee made up of UK employees works to ensure each year is more magical than the last. Shawna Baker, Barbara Bush and Betty Newsom are three of the members of the committee that ensure children across the Bluegrass will receive holiday gifts. With a combined 49 years of experience volunteering with this project, they have distributing wish lists, collecting presents, wrapping and transporting gifts down to a science.
Baker said this opportunity as a volunteer has helped her “get involved and get to learn about the surrounding community.” Each year, committee members are provided a county, and they are responsible for getting in touch with guidance counselors at the various schools and getting a list of names and wish lists from students.
Gifts from big to small
While some participants go big with their wish list, many students’ requests are simple. “Their wants are things so many people take for granted,” Newsom said. Wish lists often include winter coats, hats and gloves. Children participating in this program range from elementary students to high schoolers, but gift requests can include items for infants and toddlers, as some students use this opportunity to request gifts for younger family members.
Everyone is encouraged to get involved. With more than 800 children participating in this year’s event, there are plenty of chances for individuals and departments to adopt a child or children and do some shopping. Thanks to the committee members, volunteers and the generosity of the UK HealthCare community, these holiday wishes can be fulfilled.
How you can help
Students and staff will have the opportunity to select a wish list at several locations on the medical campus during the following days:
- Wednesday, Nov. 16 to Friday, Nov. 18
- Monday, Nov. 21 to Wednesday, Nov. 23
- Monday, Nov. 28 to Friday, Dec. 2
At these locations:
- Gift of Life Wall in UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital Pavillion A from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Third floor of the Kentucky Clinic from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Good Samaritan Hospital from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Wrapped gifts with wish list cards can be returned Monday, Dec. 5, or Tuesday, Dec. 6, at the following locations:
- Chandler Hospital Pavillion A Atrium, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Good Samaritan Hospital Administration office, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
On Friday, Dec. 9, buses and vans will arrive in front of UK Chandler Hospital to be loaded with gifts.