LOWELL — Lowell General Hospital, one of Sun Santa’s biggest supporters, is kicking off Black Friday with its 19th annual themed basket raffle to benefit the fund, which provides holiday support to local families in the 23 communities served by The Sun.
Departments throughout the hospital — from Human Resources, IT, Laboratory Services, Housekeeping, Admin, Imaging, Finance, ER and Critical Care — are contributing $20,000 in merchandise that make up the two dozen baskets of holiday cheer.
Jennifer Meehan, director of philanthropy, said there is great anticipation for this year’s event, where departments compete to put together the most creative and highest-bid basket to raise money for the charity.
“Lowell General Hospital is proud to support Sun Santa,” she said. “Our employees continue to be thrilled to participate and once again we have had a great response with their generosity.”
Last year, 2,400 bidders raised $80,000 for Sun Santa, almost half of the total amount raised for the charity. The baskets contained merchandise ranging from $400 gift cards to a $4,000 tech basket containing an Apple Watch, big-screen TV and other tech-related merchandise.
Among this year’s baskets is a $1,000 gift card to the North Conway Grand Hotel in New Hampshire. If you like staying at home and eating at home, this is Pizza! Pizza!” $775 basket includes an Ooni stone-fired pizza oven and pizza-making supplies. For the weekend cooks, there’s the $700 Sunday Morning Breakfast basket, complete with bakeware, gift cards, utensils and groceries.
Some departments keep it simple, offering cash-only baskets with aptly named themes like “Holiday Cash,” “Cold, Hard Cash,” or “Christmas Cookie Cash.” Other baskets focus on chocolate and coffee themed gift cards, lottery scratch cards and housewarming gifts.
The public has a chance to win one of these baskets from November 25 through December 5, said Nancy Roberts, who coordinates the Sun Santa Fund through Lowell Sun Charities.
“Online ticketing and viewing of the themed basket raffle will begin Friday, November 25,” she said.
For an in-person drawing, the general public is on Tue. December 6 at 3:00 p.m. at the hospital’s main campus at 295 Varnum Ave.
Participation in the live draw is not required and winners will be notified. Ticket purchases and basket displays will only be offered online at lowellgeneral.org/sunsanta.
“We know the need is great in our community,” Meehan said. “We are happy to do our part to make a difference for the 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 be giving out treats during the City of Lights Parade in downtown Lowell from 4pm to 6pm
• Former State Senator Steve Panagiotakos will host his 26th Annual Sun Santa Benefit Event at The Blue Shamrock, 105 Market St. from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm. Participants 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 their Ladies Auxiliary will host their 14th Annual Christmas Celebration benefiting Sun Santa at the Polish National Home/Dom Polski, 10 Coburn St., Lowell from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. This year the event is in honor of Robert “Bob” Jaracz. The day features raffles, music, food and a visit from Santa Claus. $5 requested donation, children under 5 years old are admitted free.
• The folks at Westford Remembers/Team Forever Young are hosting their annual ‘Dining for a Cause’ event at the Evviva Trattoria in Westford from 5:30pm to 9:00pm. The event includes a raffle for gift baskets. A portion of the proceeds from the dinner and raffle will benefit Sun Santa.
• State Assemblyman Jim Arciero, D-Westford, will host his annual event at Littleton Police Headquarters, 500 Great Road, from 10am to 12pm. Entrants 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 from 12pm to 2pm at the Lowell Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell, 657 Middlesex St., Lowell. Participants 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, PO Box 2439, Lowell, MA 01851.