Gifts for Head Start from Park River Care Center

A Christmas tree at Park River Estates Care Center, Coon Rapids, was draped with gifts this holiday season.

Coon Rapids VFW Ladies Auxiliary members, left to right, Bernadette Staum, Mary Kaye Kath and Judy Roepke start packaging gifts from the Sharing Tree at Park River Estates Care Center Dec. 20 for delivery to the Anoka County Head Start Center.

Coon Rapids VFW Ladies Auxiliary members, left to right, Bernadette Staum, Mary Kaye Kath and Judy Roepke start packaging gifts from the Sharing Tree at Park River Estates Care Center Dec. 20 for delivery to the Anoka County Head Start Center.

The recipients of the items covering the Sharing Tree, as it was called, were children attending the Anoka County Head Start Center, Coon Rapids, and their families.

The project took place in conjunction with the Coon Rapids VFW Ladies Auxiliary, whose members stopped by the care center Dec. 20 to take the items off the tree for delivery to the Head Start center.

Hats, mittens, scarves and slipper-socks filled the Christmas tree.

In fact, there were more than 125 items on the tree, according to Vicki Petersen, Park River Estates Care Center activities director.

Some of them were made by residents and staff, while others were purchased by staff and families, Petersen said.

One resident who made hats for the Sharing Tree did not want to leave Park River until he had finished his hats, said Judy Roepke, Coon Rapids VFW Ladies Auxiliary member and a former employee at Park River.

It was at a lunch meeting Roepke had with nurses at Park River that the idea for the Sharing Tree was born and the project became a reality when Roepke met with Petersen about a month ago.

“We wanted to benefit those in need,” Petersen said.

And the hope is that the partnership with the Coon Rapids VFW Ladies Auxiliary will result in the Sharing Tree becoming an annual project at Park River, according to Petersen.

“This is phenomenal,” Roepke said. “It’s so exciting.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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