Cathie Carden
Dec 19, 2019

Last year, we started our own tradition of collecting and donating holiday gifts to our local children’s hospital. While the holidays are a time of togetherness and fun memories, we all know how hard the holidays can be in other ways. As we’ve continued to grow, we weren’t sure what kind of turn out we would see — what we got was beautiful, humbling, and nothing short of amazing.

The story of the 2018 CodeScience Holiday Spectacular

While we have a “local office” in Chattanooga, Tennessee, CodeScientists live all over the country. We put the message out in our Slack Channels that we were collecting items for Erlanger Children’s Hospital in Chattanooga, TN. And almost magically, the items just started showing up at the Chattanooga office. CodeScientists were taking time out of their day, money out of their budget to contribute thousands of dollars worth of items, and having those items shipped to the office with the hope of making Christmas just a little more bearable for children (and the families of those children) in the hospital. These weren’t only items for the children. There were also gifts purchased for the staff members that would be giving up their Christmas at home to spend it working in the hospital instead.

Our haul from Christmas 2018

There were so many gifts donated!! And, we didn’t just drop them off. We dressed up as Santa and elves to deliver these items in person. Our own personal Santa (every other day of the week known as our Controller, Doug Condra) chatted with children in the hospital waiting room. People like me got to stand there and see the joy on those children’s faces as they couldn’t wait to talk to Santa and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. 

Just because a child is sick and in the hospital doesn’t mean they stop thinking about the magic of Christmas.

Santa, the Elves, and Hospital Staff at Erlanger Hospital 2018

CodeScience Holiday Drive 2019

After the success of last year’s toy drive, we couldn’t wait to do it again! We also weren’t sure…would it happen again? Would people give…again? 

Well, we announced that we would be collecting items again this year during the week of Thanksgiving, and we published a wish list of items the hospital specifically requested. By the first weekend, at least one of every item on the list had been purchased! By one week after Thanksgiving, a room at the Chattanooga office had been designated as the delivery room, and it was full!! 

The calm before the storm

That wasn’t it. Packages kept on coming! 

Seriously.

The 2019 Christmas Haul!

Here’s what I know: at CodeScience we work hard, we play hard, and we give hard.

Santa with the Elves for 2019

Delivering the gifts to the lovely staff at Erlanger was magical again this year. They let us know how grateful they were we bought from their list. While they always appreciate all the gifts that are donated each year, it is understandable they have a genuine need for items that meet certain standards of being able to be maintained (washed and kept clean) in the hospital. We delivered those items, and they were blown away by how much we brought. 

I love that we are known for working hard. I also LOVE that we are known for playing hard. But, I sincerely love that we are also known for giving — even when it’s hard.

Giving at the holidays, when we all have families and responsibilities of our own, is so hard. But, seeing the joy it can bring to the children who might not otherwise get a Christmas, it’s so worth it. I look forward to taking part in this tradition again and again, and I am grateful to be a part of such an amazing and generous group of people.

Santa with the Erlanger Hospital Staff

If you’re in the holiday spirit after reading our post, we encourage you to reach out to a local charity and find some way to contribute. If you’re interested in taking part in our holiday drive for 2020, we’re hiring — check out our careers page and join the fun!

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