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Santa for Seniors exceeds goal

Lajune Hausken was pleasantly surprised when a group of hockey boys presented her with a gift from the community. (Annie Harman/Echo Press)2 / 4
The first group of hockey players, representing all ages, went to Bethel Manor to deliver the gifts to seniors. (Annie Harman/Echo Press)3 / 4
Gabe Strom, 5, said that the gifts were heavy, but insisted that he carried one himself to give to a senior. (Annie Harman/Echo Press)4 / 4

The third annual Santa for Seniors was a success this holiday season, exceeding its goal of 420 gift baskets by two.

On December 19, a group of young hockey players, ranging in age from 5 to 15, delivered gifts from the community to seniors residing in Bethel Manor. With smiles on their faces, they knocked on every door.

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Last year, Craig McMillan, the founder of Santa for Seniors, was approached by a young girl who was upset that she couldn’t give baskets to everyone living in the homes. Because of her, the goal for 2013 was set to assure that everybody would, indeed, receive one.

Many people in Bethel Manor were taken by surprise when the hockey players presented them with the gifts through the program, which is supported by the local United Way. There wasn’t a single person that night, both seniors and children, that didn’t have a smile on their face.

Due to weather, not all of the gift baskets were able to be delivered that night to the residential address in Alexandria. The deliveries were postponed to the following day.

With the continually growing success, McMillan is excited with where they’re heading. Next year there is hope that a committee will be formed so that the number of baskets, deliveries, and volunteers will be able to continue to expand.

Other communities have recently contacted McMillan saying they would like to start a similar project, which he says is their ultimate goal.

Annie Harman
Annie Harman is a reporter for Echo Press and The Osakis Review. She grew up in Detroit Lakes and graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire with a degree in print journalism and history in May 2012. Follow her on Twitter at annieharman
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