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Two local communities will benefit from Gift Tree programs sponsored by The First National Bank in Trinidad and the Huerfano County Branch in Walsenburg. Each location has its own gift program with matching deadlines. Here are the details on each.

The Huerfano County Branch, in cooperation with the Huerfano County Social Services Agency, is again planning their North Pole Gift Tree for the holidays. Last year they brightened the lives of numerous children who wrote to Santa requesting baby dolls, toy trucks and cars, warm gloves and hats to name a few items. This year, they will be including 82 residents from the Spanish Peaks Veterans Community Living Center.

Beginning November 24th, the North Pole Gift Tree will be displayed in the bank lobby at 135 W. 6th Street in Walsenburg. Attached will be actual letters written by children and veterans. Choose a letter and fulfill their request. Drop off your gift-wrapped present with a Christmas tag showing the number from the letter no later than Friday, December 15th at the branch. Gifts will be delivered to the veterans, and parents can pick up their child’s gift between December 18th and December 22nd at the Branch to help Santa deliver them on Christmas Eve.

Last year, a total of 78 wishes were fulfilled, but this year they are expecting closer to 150 wishes to fulfill. Both the giver and receiver will experience the gift of giving. Please stop by and pick up a letter any time after November 24th. If you should require additional information about the North Pole Gift Tree program in Walsenburg, call the branch bank at (719) 738-3594.

Since Trinidad already has gift programs that primarily focus on children, senior citizens are the focus of Santa’s Gift Tree. For shut-ins, or seniors with little or no family nearby, the holidays can be an especially lonely time of year. The First National Bank in Trinidad would like to make their Christmas a little brighter this year with the help of South Central Council of Governments, Corazon Square, Las Animas County Department of Human Services, Trinidad Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, The Legacy at Trinidad, H.R. Sayer Senior Center and generous people like you.

Santa’s Gift Tree will be displayed in the bank lobby at 100 E. Main Street, in the Motor Bank Lobby and at the Wal-Mart Branch, November 24th through December 8th. The trees will be decorated with actual letters written to Santa by seniors. Requests may include help with a utility bill, food, or other personal items. Choose a letter and fulfill the request. Drop off your gift-wrapped present no later than Friday, December 15th at the main bank.

“This is the seventeenth year we have sponsored this program in Trinidad, and it has grown to 350 requests from senior citizens. The recipients of these gifts are so appreciative. In some cases it is the only Christmas gift they receive. We are pleased with the success of this program; both the giver and the receiver experience the gift of giving,” says event coordinator, Christa Smith-Prieto. Assistant event organizer, Corey Gonzales adds, “With so many requests, we need the public’s help more than ever! Please stop by and pick up a letter. You’ll be glad you did! With your help, we can give our seniors the assistance they need and a special holiday memory to treasure.”

 For more information about the gift tree program in Trinidad, call The First National Bank in Trinidad at (719) 846-9881. Photos courtesy The First National Bank.Photo Captions:

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There will be 350 letters just like these, written to Santa by Las Animas County senior citizens, who need to have their wishes fulfilled this year by December 15th.  Will you help make a wish come true?

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Huerfano County Branch Bank employee and event organizer, Samantha Provine, sits perched on a bike that was ready for delivery to one of 78 children whose wishes were fulfilled last year. This year veterans from the Spanish Peaks Veterans Community Living Center will be included this year.

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Santa greeted residents of The Legacy at Trinidad while delivering gifts last year.

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Trinidad volunteers delivered 231 gifts to Las Animas County senior citizens last year on December 20th - left to right are event organizers Christa Smith-Prieto and Chris Egland, Laura, Cayden, Ryan and Joella Newport, Mrs. Claus, Santa, Tiffany Montoya, event organizer Corey Gonzales, and Kylie Montoya.