For Shawnee Mission Medical Center (SMMC), there’s no better way to kick off the holiday season than by giving back to the community. That’s why SMMC is once again hosting the Celebration of Thanksgiving, a free concert featuring Christian singer/songwriter Francesca Battistelli, a Grammy nominee and six-time Dove Award winning artist. Battistelli writes pop, soul-infused music to motivate and encourage listeners of any age. Her debut album, My Paper Heart, was Certified Gold in July 2012.

The inspirational concert will take place at 3:30 pm on Saturday, Nov. 23, at Cross Points Church located at 6824 Lackman Road in Shawnee, Kansas. Attendees are encouraged to bring food items to donate to Harvesters, but donations are not required.

“We want to encourage everyone to give back to the community during this time of the year just as we are,” said SMMC’s administrative director of Spiritual Wellness Mark Stoddart.

SMMC associates, physicians and staff created Celebration of Thanksgiving years ago as a way to extend their gratitude and give back to patients and the community.

“We’re a faith-based hospital, and we wanted to find a way to give something to our community that would be inspiring,” said Stoddart.  “This celebration also marks the beginning of the holiday season in a way that focuses on God.”

Founded on the values of the Seventh-day Adventist church, SMMC has been committed to improving health through Christian service for more than 50 years. The Celebration of Thanksgiving is yet another way to honor the hospital’s history and mission—making this year’s featured performer a perfect match for the concert and SMMC.

Not only did  Battistelli’s album produce four major hits on the Christian charts—I’m Letting GoFree To Be MeIt’s Your Life and Beautiful Beautiful—but her music spread like wildfire on TV shows including ABC’sExtreme Makeover: Home Edition, NBC’s The Biggest Loser, FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance, TLC’s Jon & Kate Plus 8, MTV’s The Hills, the Style Network’s Running in Heels and more.

The release was the biggest seller for a debut Christian artist in nearly a decade and the longest-running No. 1 for a female artist in Billboard Christian Album Chart history. It earned Battistelli a raft of Dove Award nominations; she picked up the Female Vocalist of the Year and Artist of the Year awards in April 2011, as well as a Grammy nomination en route to selling more than half a million copies and a million downloads.

Battistelli’s second album, Hundred More Years, and its first single, This Is The Stuff debuted in the Top 20 on the Christian charts and in the Top 10 on iTunes Christian and Gospel songs.

Battistelli says she creates spiritual music to lift people up.  “I need songs like that in my life—songs that make you feel better about life, not things that bring you down,” she said. “I’m not perfect, but at the end of the day God still loves me and everything’s going to be okay.”

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Kara Cowie regularly writes for SMMC in Shawnee, Kansas.