The San Diego Blood Bank reports that 250 plush penguins were recently delivered as gifts to patients admitted to Sharp Grossmont Hospital in December during the weeks leading up to the holiday season. The gift delivery was part of the Blood Bank’s annual “Winter Wishes” program sponsored by the Grossmont Healthcare District, a public agency that supports health-related community programs and serves as landlord of the hospital on behalf of East County taxpayers.
The stuffed penguins were provided to hospital patients by blood donors enrolled in the Blood Bank’s “Donors 4 Life” loyalty program, which awards points to blood donors who can redeem their points at the Blood Bank’s online store. In November, blood donors are given a choice to donate their points they have accrued throughout the year to purchase the Winter Wishes stuffed animal, which are then delivered to patients at the hospital. Blood Bank officials said the annual Winter Wishes stuffed animal is typically the most popular item purchased through its online store. The Blood Bank began its Winter Wishes stuffed animal giveaway at the La Mesa hospital in 2008.
“Winter Wishes is another way blood donors can connect with hospital patients whose lives depend on donated blood,” said Lynn Stedd, Blood Bank director of community relations and marketing.