The sights and sounds of Christmas filled the play area at Shriners Hospital when the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort hosted a holiday party for patients this week.Rich Hoffman, CEO of Jackson Rancheria, serenaded patients and families with holiday carols while a team of Santa’s elves — Jackson Rancheria employees — helped kids build gingerbread houses.
“Giving back during the holiday season is very important to Jackson Rancheria, and our holiday giving always includes bringing cheer to children in need,” said Hoffman.
Before hosting the December 18 holiday party, Hoffman and the Jackson Rancheria staff toured the Northern California Shriners Hospital.
“The hospital tour opened our eyes to the amazing work being done for children right here in our backyard,” said Hoffman. “I always knew Shriners Hospital provides exceptional care, but to see the specifics — the research and other programs — gave me a deeper appreciation of the positive impact this hospital makes on children and families in our community.”
The Jackson Rancheria holiday party was a prelude to the Christmas morning celebration that takes place at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California each year. This year, the magic of the morning will begin when patients wake up to find a holiday stocking donated by Jackson Rancheria at the foot of their bed. The celebration continues when Santa arrives in a horse-drawn carriage to deliver toys to patients spending the holiday at the hospital.
The holiday celebrations are examples of the many activities Shriners Hospital organizes for patients as part of its Therapeutic Recreation and Child Life program. Patients are scheduled for play as part of their daily routine. Community groups frequently come to the hospital to entertain and host activities for children.
Play is an important part of the healing process, notes Activities Coordinator Breanna Williams, as it gives children the opportunity to explore their environment and interact with others. Most of all, says Williams, “The activities that take place during the holiday season speak to the generosity of many and remind us of how people can and do make a positive difference in the lives of children.”