Warmth of giving
Local resident gifts patients, staff blankets for holidays
LEWISTOWN — A local resident made a warm gesture to Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital this holiday season – in the form of 100 blankets donated to patients and staff. Sarah Snyder-Walters, a resident of Juniata County, has collected and donated 1,500 blankets to hospitals over the past six years.
It all started when Snyder-Walters worked as a nurse in Harrisburg.
“In 2014, some of my coworkers noticed that I was giving blankets to my patients on Christmas Day,” she said. “They decided to chip in and help to expand the project.”
The next year, Snyder-Walters collected enough blankets through donations from her coworkers, family, friends and the community to provide them to the entire floor she worked on, plus three other inpatient units.
“Then, in 2016, we provided blankets for the entire hospital,” she said.
Donations in 2020 exceeded her expectations.
“I actually collected 400 blankets this past year,” Snyder-Walters said, adding that she got donations from family members, friends and community members. In addition to her donation to Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital, she also delivered blankets to patients at UPMC-Harrisburg Hospital.
“I usually deliver the blankets to each patient, but this year because of the virus, I am not able to do so,” she said.
Instead, Kirk Thomas, chief administrative officer of Geisinger’s Western Region, along with administrative fellow Jose Lopez, delivered the blankets to the hospital’s nursing units.