Holiday Cheer Arrives to Heroes in Uniform
Dec 1, 2020
Sutter Health
John Hodge stands alongside a table of donated packages for military troops in the U.S. and overseas

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many American’s holiday plans this year. Families are canceling in-person gatherings and staying put rather than traveling to see loved ones. While these changes are difficult, they provide an opportunity to reflect and appreciate those in the armed forces who have made this same sacrifice long before the pandemic began.

For a third year, Sutter Health employees in Northern California assembled snacks and greeting cards for troops serving in the U.S. and far from home. Employees who organize this annual drive are themselves active or retired military, family and friends, all of whom know that small packages raise spirits and help those in uniform feel less alone.

This year, Sutter employees donated an astonishing 1,450 pounds of goodies and treats—up from 800 pounds in 2019. Now, more than 1,700 deployed service members will receive these hand-packed snack bags and greeting cards filled with personal messages—up from 1,064 last year.

John and Sarah Hodge with hand-packed holiday boxes for troops.

“I am so proud of how people have stepped forward to help,” says John Hodge, the Sutter Health privacy officer who created the drive in 2018 to send treats to shipmates of his son, who serves in the U.S. Navy.

“We’ve received from donations around the system, as far away as Hawaii. Many people also took the time to write personalized holiday cards and letters.”

Hodge and his helpers mailed 94 boxes on Dec. 11, shipping Sutter’s donations across the country and around the globe, sending the joy and gratitude for those military sacrificing their own holidays.

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