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Five Points celebrates season with Tree of Love
The holidays are right around the corner. It can be a lonely time of the year for some people. But, local organizations are making sure residents at Good Samaritan society in Hastings aren't forgotten about this Christmas.
It's a secret Santa type project. The recipients are anonymous. The 30th annual Tree of Love is set up at the north location of Five Points Bank in Hastings.
You can pick a bulb off the tree and light up someone's Christmas.
Standing tall and bright, the Tree of Love was started 30 years ago.
"They thought this would be a great idea to be Secret Santas to seniors on campus that do not have any family or cannot afford a gift," said Hastings Village volunteer coordinator Susan Spady.
The red bulbs are strung across the pine tree listing male or female and gift ideas.
Gifts range from clothes to movies to snacks and more.
"Residents don't actually ask for their gift, it's our staff that comes up with ideas. And this year we try to be creative because we want it to be genuine from our heart, but we also want it to be something special," said Spady.
This annual tradition hit close to home last year for Lois Hensley.
"My brother and sister both live in Lincoln and I don't have any family here," Hensley said.
Lois is a resident at Good Samaritan Society, Hastings Village, and volunteers during her spare time.
"Lois just really touches so many of our hearts, she's just such a great gal but when we knocked on her door she was just, had that look of excitement," said Spady.
"'Cuz it made me happy," Hensley said.
"She's an avid fan of the Cornhuskers and of the Hastings College Broncos and she loves to go to games and she got a Nebraska shirt and it really touched her heart and that's what makes this project just amazing to be involved in," Spady said.
"I just was happy to see that gift," said Hensley.
Becoming a Secret Santa is easy. Just stop by the north location of Five Points Bank in Hastings, pick an ornament off the tree (a male who wants a baseball cap and large gloves). Purchase the gift, wrap it and bring it back to the bank by December 17th.
A few days before Christmas, the elves will deliver the gifts to residents.
"Well, we go out and we knock on their doors and they really are surprised to receive gifts and it just really makes their day," said Spady.
But giving back this time of year doesn't just benefit the residents.
"I think you receive more when you give and just knowing that the residents are going to have a great Christmas it really is just a worthy project," said Spady.
The Five Points Bank off Osborne Drive in Hastings will mark down your name so they know who has the bulb and you can return them wrapped by the 17th.
In 2011 over 150 gifts were delivered to Village residents.
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