This week, kids celebrated the holiday season in a winter wonderland as Target hosted our annual holiday carnival for families at Target House and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital™ in Memphis, Tenn.
Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, and Target’s longtime partnership helps keep it that way. We opened Target House in 1999, a home-away-from-home for more than 5,000 families, providing no-cost, long-term housing and care while their kids receive lifesaving treatment at St. Jude. Since 1996, Target has provided unwavering support through Target House and a number of other programs, sponsorships and events, including seasonal carnivals three times a year featuring guest performances, activities and gifts.
CEO Brian Cornell and Chief CSR Officer Laysha Ward joined other Target leaders and volunteers for this year’s action-packed winter festivities. All St. Jude patients and their families were invited to Bullseye’s Bash, a winter carnival inspired by Target Wonderland, our magical interactive experience unveiled this week in New York City.
At the event, kids visited activity stations to craft ornaments, have their faces painted, and take photos with a giant Etch-a-Sketch, all while snacking on treats and drinks from the hot cocoa bar. Families gathered around a race course as kids faced off racing Remote Control BB-8 droids—the cute sidekick from the upcoming film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”—around the track.
They also took turns ringing a holiday bell and watching their Wonderland Gift Box (filled with goodies) slide down a chute right in front of them!
“It’s been an amazing experience to see the smiles on the kids’ faces as they picked out a book or made an ornament and just had a chance to enjoy the day,” says Brian. “It was really special to interact with so many parents and hear stories about how their stay at Target House has a made a huge difference to their families during an incredibly difficult time.”
“No family wants to spend the holidays, or any time of the year, in the hospital caring for a sick child,” adds Laysha. “So it’s incredible to see all the ways Target House makes those families feel more at home. I’m always grateful for my visits, but it was really special to see families playing at a winter carnival filled with love, joy and hope.”
Watch the video to see more of the event in action:
Before the carnival, Brian, Laysha and the team visited the hospital, and then Target House to tour the facility, which can accommodate up to 98 long-term patient families at a time. It features common areas where families can come together, sponsored by friends of Target—including the Shaun White Game Room, the Amy Grant Music Room and the new DreamWorks Studio Room.
“Being here and seeing the impact of our nearly 20-year partnership with St. Jude brings to life the 5 percent that Target gives back to communities,” says Brian. “The importance of giving and the role Target plays in improving the lives of the guests we serve must always be part of our foundational beliefs.”
St. Jude has developed protocols that helped push overall survival rates for childhood cancers from less than 20 percent when the hospital opened in 1962, to more than 80 percent today. The Target team is a dedicated supporter of St. Jude’s mission all year long, with our team members volunteering hundreds of hours toward the partnership each year.
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