A festive time at Southern Regional

Photo by M.J. Subiria Arauz Guests gather around the Christmas tree, Tuesday, at Southern Regional Medical Center. 

Photo by M.J. Subiria Arauz Guests gather around the Christmas tree, Tuesday, at Southern Regional Medical Center. 

Christmas decorations could be seen everywhere inside the Women’s Life Center at Southern Regional Medical Center, in Riverdale.

The center of attention was a very tall Christmas tree, next to elegantly curved stairs.

The Southern Regional Medical Center Foundation, and its Women Connecting Women Committee, presented the annual tree-lighting ceremony on Tuesday evening at the hospital.

Riverdale Mayor Evelyn Wynn-Dixon had the honor of lighting the tree. “I thank you so much for coming out,” said the mayor. “We thank you, and have a very, safe holiday.”

The event included pictures with Santa Clause for $10, and complimentary cookies and punch.

State Sen. Valencia Seay (D-Riverdale) was watching over her grandchildren, discussing their wish lists with Santa Claus. “They have been so excited to see Santa Claus,” she said with a smile.

She said she attended the event, because she wanted to support the hospital. Seay said she uses the hospital’s services for a variety of medical needs.

The event also sold pecans for $11, and raffle tickets for $5 each, or five tickets for $20, added Andrea Mendez, development coordinator for the foundation.

She said the tickets were sold to provide guests a chance to win gift baskets put together by volunteers. Each gift basket had a bucket, in which a person placed his or her raffle ticket. The tickets were drawn from each basket, and the winners announced.

Poinsettias were also sold by the Southern Regional Medical Center Auxiliary, a volunteer group overseen by the hospital’s volunteer service department, said Mendez.

Small poinsettias were sold for $12, and large ones for $24, said Kathryn Hall, recording secretary for the auxiliary.

Mendez said the poinsettias and pecans will be sold at the hospital’s Windmill Gift Shop until Jan. 1.

According to the hospital’s web site, www.southernregional.org, the gift shop is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m., to 8:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, from 1 p.m., to 4:30 p.m.

The festivities also included performances by children enrolled in the Gift of Dance studio in McDonough, as well as the choir of Church Street Elementary School, in Riverdale, and the jazz band of Mt. Zion High School, in Jonesboro.

Mendez said this is the first year the hospital has opened the tree-lighting event to the public. It had been held internally for four years. “It is just fun,” she said. “We get to see people come in and visit our hospital.”