A Christmas gift of song
The residents of Essentia Health's Lincoln Park Assisted Living were serenaded by 14 students and teachers from Mahube's Head Start program Friday morning -- after which they received a visit from Santa Claus himself.
After treating the Lincoln Park residents to an entertaining medley of holiday carols and other songs, including "The Wheels on the Bus," and "The Reindeer Pokey," the students gathered around Santa to receive some candy cane gifts, and to pose for photos.
With a "Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas!" Santa was then off to deliver a truckload of presents from Essentia Health-St. Mary's employees to Mahube-Otwa Community Action, where they would be distributed to 15 lucky families as part of Mahube's annual "Angel Tree" project.
"Each year, we (EHSM) have an Angel Tree so the employees can help out families in need," said Casandra Disse, a social worker at Essentia Health-Oak Crossing Nursing Home, who has chaired the Angel Tree project for the past four years.
The Angel Tree is a community outreach project of EHSM's ROOTS Committee, an employee participation group organized under the auspices of the St. Mary's Foundation to help with various EHSM fundraising projects and community outreach efforts.
"This year we were able to help 15 families, including 77 adults and children of all ages," Disse added.
Contributions to the Angel Tree include not only toys, but also household goods and clothing, gift cards for food and gas, and any other items that the families have placed on their Christmas "wish list."
"Individual employees can take an angel from the tree, or an entire department can sponsor a whole family," Disse said.
"Most of the items on the wish list are needs, not wants," she added, though there are a few toys and other fun holiday gifts included by the employees as well.
By the time the ROOTS Committee members were done collecting donations, they had accumulated a large truckload for Santa to deliver to Mahube Friday morning.
"The truck is pretty full," Disse said. "It's amazing the amount of support the employees give to this project during the holiday season."
Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.