When Judy Offenbacher lost her father, a World War II veteran, some years ago, she wanted to honor him and his service to our country. Three years ago, Offenbacher decided to launch a project at Augustana Care’s Apple Valley Villa, where she lives. Each December residents make what Offenbacher calls “Christmas Cheer” gift boxes for residents at the Veterans Home in Minneapolis.
Recently, Villa residents purchased items such as shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, magnifying glasses, notepads, greeting cards, puzzle books and other gifts and gathered to wrap the gifts. “I love to see all of the participation,” says Offenbacher. “Everybody comes together and works hard at wrapping. I love to see the appreciation from all of the staff and veterans on Christmas.”
This year, the Villa had approximately 20 residents who packaged, wrapped gifts and enjoyed some cookies and punch. Within the last three years, the Villa has delivered over 200 wrapped boxes to the Veterans Home.
Richard (Dick) Vatne, a resident who helps with this event, was in the U.S. Navy for two years and worked on many different aircrafts during World War II. Vatne believes these presents mean a great deal to so many veterans—because the gifts themselves let veterans know their service is not forgotten.
If anyone wants to get involved in this program, they are welcome to help wrap gifts at the Apple Valley Villa or they can donate small items to be wrapped. Please contact Jean Andries at 952-236-2625.
About Augustana Care
Augustana Care provides housing, health care and community-based services to older generations and others in need—and helps those we serve live the lives that most inspire them. The principles that guide our work are as follows:
- To value older generations’ talents and experience
- To provide the care residents need, when and where they need it
- To connect residents to the people and things that mean the most to them
- To support residents and families with spiritual care that speaks to who they are
Learn more about Augustana Care at www.augustanacare.org