LOWELL — Lowell General Hospital, one of Sun Santa’s biggest champions, kicks off Black Friday with its 19th annual Themed Basket Raffle to benefit the fund, which provides holiday assistance to local families in the 23 communities served by The Sun.
Departments throughout the hospital — from human resources, IT, lab services, housekeeping, administration, imaging, finance, the emergency department and intensive care — contribute $20,000 in goods that make up the two dozen baskets filled with holiday cheer.
Director of Philanthropy Jennifer Meehan said that anticipation is high for this year’s event, in which departments compete to create the most creative and top-bid basket to raise money for the charity.
“Lowell General Hospital is proud to support Sun Santa,” she said. “Our employees are as enthusiastic as ever to participate, and we have seen a terrific response with their generosity once again.”
Last year, bidding by 2,400 people raised $80,000 for Sun Santa, almost half the total amount collected for the charity. Baskets contained goods ranging from $400 worth of gift cards to a $4,000 tech basket featuring an Apple watch, big-screen television and other tech-related goods.
Among this year’s baskets is a $1,000 gift card to the North Conway Grand Hotel in New Hampshire. If your tastes run toward staying home and eating in, the “Pizza! Pizza!” basket, valued at $775, includes a fire-and-stone baked pizza oven by Ooni, along with pizza-making supplies. For the weekend cooks, there’s the $700 “Sunday Morning Breakfast” basket, which features bakeware, gift cards, utensils and food.
Some departments keep it simple, offering cash-only baskets with aptly named themes of “Holiday Cash,” “Cold, Hard Cash” or “Christmas Cookie Cash.” Other baskets focus on gift cards organized around themes of chocolates and coffee, lotto scratch-off tickets and house warming gifts.
The public has a chance to win one of these baskets starting Nov. 25 through Dec. 5, said Nancy Roberts, who coordinates the Sun Santa Fund through Lowell Sun Charities.
“The themed basket raffle’s online ticket sales and viewing starts Friday, Nov. 25,” she said.
The public is invited to the in-person drawing on Tues. Dec. 6 at 3 p.m., at the hospital’s main campus at 295 Varnum Ave.
Attendance at the live drawing is not required, and winners will be notified. Ticket purchases and basket displays will be featured online only at lowellgeneral.org/sunsanta.
“We know that the needs are great in our community,” Meehan said. “We are happy to do our part to make a difference for local families.”
In addition to the LGH basket raffle, here are some other upcoming Sun Santa events:
• Sun Santa elves from Lowell High School will pass out treats during the City of Lights Parade in Downtown Lowell from 4 to 6 p.m.
• Former state Sen. Steve Panagiotakos will host his 26th annual event to benefit Sun Santa at The Blue Shamrock, 105 Market St., from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Attendees are asked to bring a check made out to The Sun Santa Fund and/or a new, unwrapped toy for the It’s All About the Kids Foundation.
• The Polish American Veterans of Lowell and its Ladies Auxiliary will host their 14th Annual Christmas Party to benefit Sun Santa at the Polish National Home/Dom Polski, 10 Coburn St., Lowell, from 1 to 5 p.m. This year, the event is being held in honor of Robert “Bob” Jaracz. The day will feature raffles, music, food and a visit from Santa. $5 requested donation, children under age 5 admitted free of charge.
• The folks of Westford Remembers/Team Forever Young will host their annual Dining for a Cause event at Evviva Trattoria in Westford from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The event includes gift basket raffles. A portion of the dinner and raffle proceeds benefits Sun Santa.
• State Rep. Jim Arciero, D-Westford, will host his annual event at the Littleton Police headquarters, 500 Great Road, from 10 a.m. to noon. Attendees are asked to bring a check made out to The Sun Santa Fund and/or a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots.
• Lowell Mayor Sokhary Chau will host his Third Annual Holiday Drive & Drop event at the Lowell Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell, 657 Middlesex St., Lowell, from noon to 2 p.m. Attendees are asked to bring a check for The Sun Santa Fund and/or a new, unwrapped toy for local children.
Secure online donations can be made at lowellsun.com/sun-santa or by mail to The Sun Santa Fund, P.O. Box 2439, Lowell, MA 01851.
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