Operation Family Care Provides Vital Assistance

Thank you! Last year Operation Family Care provided families with food, basic necessities and transportation when they needed it most. Help us continue this vital support in 2014.

Christiansen Family Guild News Winter 2014 Feature

Guilds have raised funds for uncompensated care for more than 100 years. Now, with Operation Family Care, guilds are helping families like the Christiansens with necessities like food and gas.

Like most parents of infants, Carly and Ryan Christiansen are there when their son Gavin needs consoling at night. But for the Christiansens, being there means sleeping at Seattle Children's Hospital. Gavin was born with a defect in his abdominal wall called an omphalocele - his liver and parts of his stomach and intestines were outside his belly, within a sac formed by the umbilical cord. Now 10 months old, Gavin has spent most of his life at Children's. He will eventually need surgery to correct the omphalocele. But first, his lungs need to get stronger.

"It's so important that we stay healthy to keep Gavin healthy," says Ryan Christiansen. "But the stress takes its toll." While making sure someone is always at the hospital with Gavin, the Christiansens also continually balance the demands of their jobs and taking care of their home and two dogs in Orting, Wash.

"We get through because we know that someday we will take Gavin home," adds Carly Christiansen. "But for now, we spend a lot of money and emotional energy trying to keep our life afloat."

Children's all-guild heartwarming drive

Children's social workers help families like the Christiansens manage the strain of illness and hospitalization. They can sometimes provide essentials like food and transportation, but the needs of families at Children's often outweigh the available resources.

Operation Family Care, last year's all-guild heartwarming drive to collect groceries and gift cards for families at the hospital, helped fill this gap. Your combined efforts resulted in 463 bags of groceries and $22,000 in gift cards and cash - nearly double our initial goal.

"This kind of community support matters so much," says Yasha Carpentier, one of the 68 Children's social workers who work with about 2,000 families each year. "If parents have a child in the hospital, especially for a long admission, they shouldn't have to worry about going hungry."

Carpentier met with the Christiansen family during Gavin's most recent hospitalization and at one point provided them with gift cards for groceries. "We were able to get quite a bit of food," says Carly Christiansen. "It really lifted our spirits and helped us feel like ourselves again."

Support Operation Family Care

Guild Association trustees extended Operation Family Care through fiscal year 2014 so that we can continue to help families when they most need support.

Please consider one of these ways to help:

  • Help us provide 20 bags of groceries each month by having your guild "adopt" a month. Organize a food drive among guild members or in your community. Last year, 20 guilds donated food bags! (Note: each bag is valued at $25.)
  • Like the Miracle House Guild, display bags of groceries in your silent auction. Ask guests to make $25 "bids."
  • Add a $25 level to your raise-the-paddle, like the Catalina's Hope Guild. The guild also secured a $250 match that doubled the first 10 donations. Adding the new level and match raised an extra $1,475!
  • Ask guild members, friends and family members to donate gift cards. Gift cards of $15 to $25 are best. Safeway cards are preferred for groceries, and 76 station cards are preferred for gas.

Thank you for your dedication and creativity as you help families at Children's. Contact Melissa Cardenas or call 206-987-6806 for promotional and display materials and sample bid sheets, and for details about adopting a month to provide groceries.