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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO

All I want for Christmas

Published in For the Health of It Author: Lorrie Spanier, BS, LADC, Manager of Adolescent Services

Do your children spend more time writing letters to Santa than writing thank-you notes for gifts they received? This is the season of giving — not getting. But how do you help your kids understand that? Here are some ideas that might help.

  1. Start a charity tradition. Volunteer to help with a meal at a shelter or church. Work at a food shelf. Take your children shopping for toys to donate to children in need. To find more volunteer opportunities in your area, visit
  2. Create a tradition. Whether it's cutting down your own Christmas tree or attending a community event, those memories that you make together will last long after the toys are forgotten.
  3. Do a good deed. Shovel the driveway for an elderly neighbor. Give a basket of food to a homeless person. Sing Christmas songs at a nursing home. Resolve to make doing good deeds a regular part of your life — not just a holiday event.
  4. Give money to a worthy cause. If you don’t have extra money, your family can be bell ringers for the Salvation Army. You will be amazed at how generous people are when you are bell ringing with cute kids.
  5. Watch an inspirational movie about the holidays. If your children are young, watch “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “VeggieTales Saint Nicolas: A Story of Joyful Giving” or “The Polar Express.” For older children, watch “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “A Christmas Carol” or “Elf.”
  6. Read holiday classics like the “The Night Before Christmas,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” or “The Berenstein Bears and the Joy of Giving.”
  7. Unplug. Turn off your phones and play board games, build a snowman, string popcorn or make cookies.

What do all of these ideas have in common? You are spending time together, showing love and making precious memories. That is what the holidays are all about.