Behavioral Health Manager Jill Gustin and Pathways Case Manager Jessica Green took the lead driving the Oneida Indian Nation Government Programs and Services’ annual Holiday Program that supports Health Services clients and Nation Members in need. This year, several employees stepped up to the challenge to donate what they could – from funds and gift baskets to their personal time off – to deliver Holiday gifts for the children in these families.
The program has been a staple at the Nation each year dating back to the old Bingo Hall on Territory Road. Oneida Indian Nation Government Programs and Services Commissioner, Kim Jacobs, leads the initiative.
Staff members at Health Services took on additional duties this year coordinating efforts to ensure all the children that qualify would get a gift. With the funds raised, which included a raffle for the donated gift baskets and a bake sale the day of the raffle, several staff members went out to shop for the gifts for the kids.
“This year, we raised over $2,900, which is more than double from last year,” Jill said. “And we helped 36 families and over 50 children get a gift for the holidays. It was our largest undertaking for this program.”
Food donations were also accepted from the Employee Bingo Nights at Turning Stone to be packaged with the gifts. Additionally, the Member Benefits Office provides every qualifying family with a $25 gift card when they pick up their gifts from Health Services.
GP&S staff maintains a committee that meets throughout the year to plan this fundraising effort. Coordinating with Kim, Roberta Chapman and Tina Walker at Member Benefits, the staff at Health Services organize and distribute the gift packages to each family. Oneida Indian Nation Council Member Chuck Fougnier also met with the committee this year to offer fundraising ideas for next year’s program.
Jessica Green is the new Pathways Case Manager at Health Services and led the way getting other GP&S employees involved.
“I was new on the committee so it’s been great to help out where I can,” she said. “Working with Member Benefits was amazing and any time I needed anything or had any questions, they were there to answer them.”
Pathways is a case management program that is funded through the Bureau of Indian Affairs to assist Members with any social services they might need and utilize available community resources.
“It’s great to see the support that we have at the Oneida Indian Nation,” Jessica said. “Because a lot of people came together, but the majority of the work came from the employees and it was just really great to be able to provide the children with something to make their holiday a little brighter.”