Gift boxes

ST MARYS — For almost 50 years, the Elk Haven Christmas Card Fund has provided donations for Elk County nursing home residents during the holiday season.

The EHCCF is sponsored by the St. Marys chapter of the Catholic Daughters of America organization, said Elk Haven Nursing Home Administrator Arlene Anderson.

The project has been in existence since 1972, according to a “thank you” letter from the Elk Haven Nursing Home Association written in 1984.

The letter, which is 34 years old, exhibits just how long the fund has helped EHNH residents.

“The project has grown from 143 families participating in 1972 to well over 1,400 families in December 1983,” the letter says.

The idea of the project is for people in the community to send a public Christmas greeting to friends and relatives through a CDOA newspaper tab, and for each greeting, a minimum of $5 is donated to the EHCF, the letter reads.

“All of the donations go toward resident activities and needs of the facility that would directly benefit the residents,” Anderson said. “The (donations) help purchase a Christmas gift for each resident that’s individually wrapped, then are passed out by Santa on Christmas Eve morning.”

Some examples of gifts include things like watches, shoes, jewelry, candy, pictures, gift certificates for the hairdresser, books or magazine subscriptions. However, some residents ask for just the most basic, everyday necessity donations, such as clothing, bedding, razors or snacks, Andersons says.

“The activity staff asks the residents themselves, or their family members, what (items) they may want or need,” Anderson says.

The fund also contributes to resident activities and items throughout the year, such as holiday and birthday parties, musicians and renovations.

“We are very pleased with the CDOA and our community,” the letter said. “They are special people helping special people.”

Donations will be accepted until Dec. 7 and can be mailed to:

Elk Haven Christmas Card Fund

P.O. Box 853

St. Marys, PA 15857

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