HELENA — Montana State Hospital’s Gifts With A Lift Program has begun. The program takes gift or monetary donations in order to supply every MSH patient with presents at Christmas time.
“People who are in the state hospital over the holidays, I think it just gives them a sense of the giving season of Christmas. And people are, like I said, across the state, are so generous,” says Education Director for NAMI Montana, Colleen Rahn.
The program, which has been running for 70 years, works to garner enough donations in order to supply Montana State Hospital patients with presents at Christmas time.
Patients create wish lists with what they would like most for the holiday season. The hospital then chooses from their donations or uses donated money to buy such items.
Generally, they’re looking for warm winter clothing, books, batteries, cards, headphones, and more.
Donors can also adopt a patient by reaching out to George Sich at MSH. They are then able to personally fulfill that patient’s wish list themselves.
Montana State Hospital requests that gifts not be wrapped when donated and that all monetary donations be given in checks and not cash.
Drop-off locations are in multiple towns throughout the state including Missoula, Billings, and Bozeman.
In Helena, there are 3 drop-off locations including NAMI Montana, Many Rivers Whole Health, and Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Division.
“It really lights up the patient’s day when they receive a gift here at the hospital. They may be missing their family or friends. And so, this obviously isn't a substitute for family or friends, but it makes their day,” says Assistant Clinical Services Manager at Montana State Hospital, George Sich.