An initiative by the Brockville General Hospital (BGH) is getting children involved, and lifting spirits during the holiday season for both patients and staff.

And it's as easy as drawing or creating something, and sending it in.

"This initiative started last year when we couldn't have visitors into the hospital, unfortunately, and we just wanted a way to be able to lift spirits," said Jessica Gerritsen, Patient Engagement Specialist at BGH.

The hospital put out the call earlier this month inviting local children and those young at heart to show off their artistic side, to be shown on patient meal trays.

Gerritsen says the pictures have sparked up a conversation between both patients and staff.

"Our clinical staff, you know they come in and see the patients with these placemats, and they can have great discussions and talk about great stories and great memories of Christmases," she said.

Brockville General Hospital

It's also been a great outlet for children, being able to get involved.

"I think what's really important is the kids in the community and their families get to participate in doing something really nice for people in hospital," added Julie Caffin, Senior Vice-President and Chief Nursing Executive at the hospital. "It's really a feel good thing."

"The kids seem to be having a lot of fun sending them in and we've gotten a lot of good feedback from parents and teachers who have said it gives them an opportunity to help teach kids about giving back to the community in a way that the kids enjoy," Gerritsen added.

With new artwork being submitted daily, everyone is excited to see what kids will think up and send in next.

"They're pretty creative, much more creative than I am!" Caffin laughed. "They have thought of things that I haven't thought of so just keep them coming, we're really enjoying them!"

The meal trays are also posted on the cafeteria wall so anyone walking by can stop and have a look and a laugh.

"The goal is to make as many people smile as possible," Gerritsen added.

"The staff often stop and look at the windows and see the pictures and I see somebody everyday pointing to different elements of the pictures and a lot of smiles," Caffin said.

Brockville General Hospital

And while there have been lots of Christmas pictures, children can send in any form of artwork they like to draw or create.

"They're not just drawings," said Caffin. "They are actually pictures of crafts the kids have done as well and you can tell it's a family event."

With the team preparing more than 450 meals each day, the women say there's plenty of room for variety on the placemats.

"Some of the patients have actually liked them so much, they've put them on their wall so they can continue to look at them and talk about them," said Gerristsen.

"You just email in your pictures and then we transfer those onto the placemats and the patients and staff can enjoy them," she added.

"Kids are pretty sensitive to this kind of thing and they want to do what they can to make people feel good and put a smile on everybody's face," added Caffin.

The hospital team is accepting artwork for the entire month of December, and all works can be submitted to Gerristsen through email