To welcome in the holidays, Sanford Health Bismarck provided backpacks filled with goodies for roughly 700 second-grade students in the Bismarck-Mandan community.
“The holidays can be very stressful for families,” said Janelle Heinsohn, community relations coordinator for Mandan Public School District and development director for the Mandan Public School Foundation for Education. “It’s an expensive time of year, and to be able to receive a community gift like this that has grocery vouchers and essential items to keep kids warm, but also some great things that are just fun for kids as well, I just think will be a wonderful gift for them.”
The holiday parties welcomed students to take part in Sanford Sports activities, tasty treats and photos with Santa. Each student then received a special backpack filled with community- and Sanford-sponsored winter items, a grocery voucher, toys and more.
As the Sanford Cares program has continued to work together with the public schools foundations in both Bismarck and Mandan, participation in the event has grown from approximately 400 students in 2021, to 600 last year, and 700 this holiday season.
“Sanford Cares is really an opportunity for us to give back to a community that has given Sanford so much,” said Brian Ritter, head of market affairs at Sanford Bismarck. “So for us, the opportunity to fill a backpack full of things that they need, along with things that they want, really is the perfect combination at Christmas time.”
The Sanford Cares program has been serving Title I schools in the area since 2019. Anyone can help Sanford Health spread cheer this holiday season by becoming a sponsor or making a donation.
“I think that anybody who would want to donate and be a part of the Sanford Cares program would just be contributing to the magic of Christmas for kids,” said Heinsohn. “Kids especially just have such a special time around this holiday season, and I think they would definitely enjoy being part of that magic.”
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