Activity Director Cindy York and resident Rosalie Guzregan are excited for all the holiday festivities this month at the Glacier Care Center in Cut Bank. One of the programs which has been supported by community residents for years is the Letters to Santa program. To see how you can help make Christmas merrier for a local resident, contact York at 873-5600.

Glacier Care Center (GCC) is home to long-term care and assisted living residents in Cut Bank. While some of the residents have family and friends who dote on them all year round and especially during the holiday, others find the holidays a little lonely.

Nine years ago, GCC started its Letters to Santa program to make sure every resident has at least one gift under the Christmas tree. And thanks to the generosity of the Cut Bank community, residents have never been disappointed on Christmas Day.

“We have the most wonderful residents, each with distinct stories, wants and needs, who make this their home. We are trying to make the holidays just as special as these people are,” said Activities Director Cindy York. With Christmas right around the corner, York invites anyone who would like to take part in the Letters to Santa gift-giving program to give her a call at (406) 873-5600 and request a resident profile.

The profile includes pertinent information about a resident, but not their name, only a number. On the profile is the resident’s wish list and some interests they may have. It also includes any dietary restrictions as well as his or her clothing sizes.

And that’s when the fun begins for local “Santas.” Once you receive a resident’s profile it’s time to play Santa and do a little shopping.

All you need to do is purchase a gift or maybe two, for the resident you have been given, wrap the gift and number it with the resident number you have been given.

“You are certainly not obligated to purchase all the things from your resident’s list, nor are you expected to spend beyond your means,” reminded York.

The last step is returning the wrapped gifts, complete with your resident’s “number,” to GCC. York asks that gifts be returned no later than Wednesday, Dec. 22 to ensure all the residents will have a gift to open on Christmas morning.

“If you wish for your gift to be tax deductible, attach your receipts and include your name and address and we will send you a charitable giving letter,” assured York.

Some of the most requested items residents regularly ask for are magnifiers, cardigan sweaters, a subscription to the Cut Bank Pioneer Press, Great Falls Tribune  or their favorite magazine. Other frequent requests include soft-centered chocolates, but only if that is allowed on the resident profile.

York said the Letters to Santa program is very popular with the residents and their families and the staff, too. There is nothing better than to see the residents faces light up when they are handed a gift to open on Christmas.

York said the Cut Bank community has been very supportive of the Letters to Santa program year after year. “We’ve never had a problem matching resident’s up with community members who want to find a way to give back to the community elders,” she shared.

“If anyone has any questions, they can call Glacier Care Center (873-5600) and ask for me or leave a message for me at Ext. 220. I will return the call to you as soon as I am able to do so,” she assured.

There is no doubt, receiving a surprise gift on Christmas will be the highlight of the holiday season for many of the residents.

York expressed her appreciation for the “generosity and thoughtfulness” of local residents in making sure every GCC resident has a very Merry Christmas!

For more local news, pick up a copy of this week’s issue or subscribe to the Cut Bank Pioneer Press,  Shelby Promoter, Browning Glacier Reporter and The Valierian newspapers at http://www.cutbankpioneerpress.com/site/services/

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