GFF Helps Bring Christmas Cheer to St. Raymond Health Center
Gertler Family Foundation (GFF) staff and volunteers joined the team at Saint Raymond Health Center (Centre de Sante St Raymond), to bring Christmas joy to the Center’s young patients and clinical staff.
St. Raymond is a family health center that serves an acutely impoverished population living in the rural areas of Nganda Yala and N’Sele, two remote villages located roughly 35km from Kinshasha. The Center opened its doors in 2006, and survives on donations from individuals and philanthropic organizations such as the GFF, which began supporting St. Raymond in 2012.
The Center consists of a medical clinic, post-natal center, and a nutrition center. Its small staff team provides life-saving healthcare to patients suffering from malnutrition, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases that are unfortunately prevalent in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Many of the patients at St. Raymond are abandoned children who show up suffering from acute malnutrition. The Center provides them with housing, medical care, food and other services to meet their basic needs.
St. Raymond serves daily meals to bring its patients back to optimum nutritional health so their bodies have the strength to fight disease. Additionally, Center patients are taught how prepare and eat nutritious meals to protect their health and build resistance to disease. Many of the patients, old and young alike, travel great distances through perilous landscape, to access food and medical treatment that will keep them alive.
For Christmas, though, all the pain of abandonment, disease and malnutrition was left behind, replaced by laughter and appreciation. The Center was fully decorated in the yuletide spirit. Santa’s helpers could be seen everywhere as staff and volunteers transformed the Clinic with colorful Christmas decorations, including ivy, stockings and Christmas bulbs. There was a special banquet of delicious Christmas food, and the Center’s partners pooled their efforts to produce a large assortment of toys that were collected and delivered as gift to the patients—no one left the party empty-handed. To complete the festivities, there was singing and dancing, and the celebration was a great success. All involved will carry with them in their hearts memories of the huge smiles on the faces of the children who had a short respite from their ailments and life challenges.