A total of 16 families will have a brighter Christmas season thanks to the generosity of the employees of St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital, Coaldale.

For the sixth year, the hospital is assisting needy families that participate in the Carbon County Head Start program by presenting them with Christmas gifts.

"Each year during the holiday season, the employees of St. Luke's Miners make a special effort to help those in our community who are in need, "said Andrea Visnosky, the hospital's director of marketing and public relations.

This year, hospital staff "adopted" families and enjoyed the spirit of giving. Some of the families were adopted by departments, such as St. Luke's Tamaqua Family Practice, while others were chosen by individual staff members.

"It's done through all departments of the hospital," said Visnosky.

The Carbon County Head Start program identified families in the community who will benefit from receiving winter coats, clothes and gifts from the employee-donors.

The hospital's board room was loaded with wrapped packages from the program, which were collected Tuesday by Billie-Jo Swartz and Gaetana Thompson of the Carbon Head Start program, which will distribute them to the designated families.

"It's definitely overwhelming," said Swartz. "The generosity of the employees at St. Luke's is always amazing."

"It's all about giving back," added Visnosky.