Cornerstone Church of the Nazarene, Partners of the Americas donate 100 gift bags, blankets to patients at Cullman Regional 

Cornerstone Church of the Nazarene presented 100 blankets and gift bags filled with hospital stay essentials to Cullman Regional on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023. Left to right are Pastor Joe McNulty, Jennifer Stephens, Mary Nell Saunders, Elizabeth Willingham and Kathy Jones. (contributed)

CULLMAN, Ala. – For most, the Christmas season brings merry gatherings and gift exchanges, but for those hospitalized during the most wonderful time of the year, visitors and gifts may be few. Cornerstone Church of the Nazarene has teamed up with Partners of the Americas Alabama Chapter to donate 100 blankets and gift bags of essentials to patients at Cullman Regional and their families. 

Elizabeth Willingham of Partners of the Americas and Cornerstone said the project was inspired by a church member being unexpectedly hospitalized, and the church’s goal for this project was simple: make patients and their support people feel as comfortable and cared for as possible, even during a stressful event like an unexpected or extended – or both – hospital stay. 

Willingham explained, “One of our church family members had to go to the emergency room. He was sent straight from a doctor’s appointment to the hospital. His wife was so worried and all alone in the waiting room, but he had an illness that they did not want spreading – so, no visitors. Another church member heard of this and quickly put together a care bag of a blanket, small pillow, water, snacks and hygiene items and delivered it to the wife at the emergency room.”   

Willingham said the wife felt so blessed to have those things brought to her, it inspired a movement within the congregation to help others feel blessed, too. 

“Well, this idea caught on, and several church members decided to create 100 bags with snacks, pens, notepads, water, etc. in them to hand out on an emergency basis. Then, they partnered with another nonprofit in Alabama (Partners of the Americas), and 100 blankets were purchased to hand out to families!” she exclaimed.  

Willingham said the church made sure there wouldn’t be any red tape to cut through, contacting Cullman Regional before the project began to ensure it would be well received. “They were thrilled to learn of this project!” she exclaimed.  

The gift bags and blankets arrived at Cullman Regional on Thursday, Dec. 14, for patients and their families to feel the warm embrace of not only a cozy blanket, but also the love of a community rallying behind them, sending tidings of comfort and joy.  

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