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Lakewood Ranch Medical Center hosts gingerbread house competition; Families collect toys from Salvation Army's Angel Tree program.
by: Amanda Sebastiano Staff Writer

+ Edible arrangements

Lakewood Ranch Medical Center departments competed for the ultimate bragging rights. Who could make the best gingerbread house?

Twelve teams from different departments spent two weeks designing and building their edible homes. The houses were displayed in the medical center’s café so staff, visitors and patients could vote for a People’s Choice Award. 

CEO Richard Fletcher, COO Christ Loftus and Chief Nursing Officer Judy Young judged the homes Thursday, Dec. 17, and declared the first-place winners. Robin Weaver and Lisa Wilkes from Patient Access won for their "Elf on a Shelf" beach cottage theme.

“It was a lot of fun and quite challenging,” said Wilkes. “It was the first time I’d ever made a gingerbread house.”

+ The gift of giving

As the Escobar family located the cardboard box with their family's assigned number on it, 3-year-old Jose smiled and hugged his new friend, a teddy bear he had just received.

Jose Escobar shows off his new toy.
Jose Escobar shows off his new toy.

The Escobars were among the 600 Manatee County families that received toys and clothing Dec. 18 from the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program.

More than 1,500 county children received five items from their wish and need lists. 

Cardboard boxes filled with board games, skateboards, fishing poles, nail polish and other gifts lined the walls of the State Road 70 Salvation Army location on distribution day.

Participants of the program, which dates back to 1979, chose tags off a tree at a local grocery store, restaurant or other facility, that feature children's names, ages and items they wanted for Christmas. People also donated money to the bell ringers stationed at grocery stores.

"Thank you to all those individuals who put money in a kettle or pulled a name off a tree,"said Major Marion Durham, associate regional coordinator for Salvation Army of Manatee County. "Today was a day of joy and culmination of months of hard work. This is a day that celebrates giving and receiving."

 

 

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