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Ace is Children’s Helpful Place for Holiday Cheer

Patients at Children’s of Alabama experienced the magic of the season at the second annual Children’s Tree Farm, presented by Ace Hardware.

The Child Life department transformed the hospital patio into a winter wonderland thanks to 350 3-foot trees donated by Ace. The Junior League of Birmingham donated ornaments and crafts, while HOAR Construction brought the tree farm to life with holiday decorations and snow.

“Last year, the tree farm was such a special part of the holiday season for patients and families at the hospital,” said Emily Bridges, community development coordinator at Children’s of Alabama. “The holidays are always a difficult time to be hospitalized, and the pandemic adds an extra layer to that stress. We were hopeful our patients could experience the tree farm again this year, and we are extremely thankful to our Child Life department, Ace Hardware, the Junior League and HOAR Construction for once again turning this idea into a reality.”

Following COVID-19 masking, sanitizing and social distancing guidelines, patients stopped by the tree farm one-by-one throughout the day to pick out their own tree, lights and ornaments. A camera on the patio provided extra entertainment for patients to watch the tree farm on hospital closed circuit TVs, including an appearance by the Grinch.

Ace Hardware is a Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals community partner of the hospital and raised more than $40,000 for Children’s in 2019. This year, 30 Ace locations across Alabama participated in donating trees for the hospital.

“We at your local Ace Hardware stores are blessed to be able to help these families from our very own communities around Alabama by sharing a touch of Christmas Spirit,” said John Pickert, district manager at Ace Hardware. “While so many children and their loved ones are facing such a difficult time this Christmas season, it is our hope that this will bring them a smile and forget their illness, even if for only a few minutes and bring some joy into their hearts.”

Patients will display the trees in their hospital room windows for people driving through downtown Birmingham to see during the month. The tree farm was established in 2019 and initiated by Mark Miller, a manager at Warrior Ace, whose daughter was a heart patient at Children’s. Last year’s tree farm will be featured as one of Ace’s Heartware Stories and shared nationally.