Archived Story

LB Homes staff donate gifts to residents without families [UPDATED]

Published 3:41am Monday, December 23, 2013 Updated 7:35am Monday, December 23, 2013

The employees of LB Homes spend all year working to help those in need. Whether it is at Lakeland Home Care, Lakeland Hospice, the Broen Home or any one of the other businesses owned by LB Homes, the staff’s priorities are to make sure they take care of those under their watch.

That level of care certainly extends to the holiday season.

Once again this season, many staff members volunteered their time and money to buy gifts for residents in area nursing home and long-term care facilities. Some of the gifts go as far as Alexandria and New York Mills, while 14 Fergus Falls residents at Broen Home and PioneerCare will receive presents this year, according to LB Homes Marketing Director Mary Widiger.

“By volunteering to go the extra mile, especially for others who might otherwise not be remembered, speaks of our staff’s dedication,” Widiger said in an email. “It’s very humbling to work with such great people.”

Widiger said the presents can often be as simple as puzzles, lotion or clothing. It is not about what the gift is nearly as much as what the gift represents: that people are thinking about these residents during the holidays.

A total of 30 LB Homes employees participated in the annual program this year. One of those is Heidi Lien, a registered nurse case manager who works at many different facilities under the LB Homes umbrella. She started the job in July, which makes this her first Christmas at LB Homes.

Lien said she was excited to learn about the gift-giving program and was more than happy to participate. Lien bought a gift for one person and said she hopes it serves to brighten that person’s holiday season.

“I feel very fortunate that I’m able to do this,” she said.

The number of price of the gifts is up to the individual employee, according to Lien. But Lakeland Hospice Bereavement Coordinator Bonnie Wallin said the company likes to have enough volunteers for each to only have to buy one gift, making it more of a group effort.

Wallin has participated in the program for years and has seen the effect it has on those receiving the gifts. For her, buying these gifts helps remind her of what the holidays are all about.

“I am so blessed. I am surrounded by family and friends that love me,” she said. “When we think about the holidays, we think about love and joy and gift-giving.”

Staff members began distributing the gifts to social workers earlier this week. They take them to these area workers, who then hand them out wherever they are needed, Widiger said.

Each year, the gifts are given out by Christmas Day at the very latest, Wallin said. This means more people at these care facilities are able to participate in Christmas festivities without feeling left out or forgotten.

“They may not have family or friends in the area at all,” Lien said. “It’s nice for them to have something they wouldn’t have had before.”

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