Marilyn Waters (left), Sheila Klein and Janet Swinden (far right) hang the first batch of tags on the annual Giving Tree set up at the Shoppers Drug Mart on 50A Street on Nov. 19. This is the ninth year the Friends of Bethany volunteers have set up the tree. The Giving Tree is adorned with 61 anonymous tags outlining the wish list of one of the seniors living in Bethany’s long-term care and supported living facility. Sylvan Lake residents can stop by, grab a tag and buy a gift for a senior. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News

Giving Tree back in Sylvan Lake for its ninth year

The Friends of Bethany volunteers hung the tags on the Giving Tree in Shopper’s Drug Mart, Nov. 19

The Friends of Bethany volunteers have put the Giving Tree up at the Shoppers Drug Mart on 50A Street for its ninth straight year.

The tree features 61 anonymous tags which display the Christmas wish list of each of the seniors living at Bethany’s long-term care and supportive living facility. Also included this year are 10 additional tags for anyone that may want to purchase new Christmas decorations.

The Giving Tree is such a successful program that often the tags don’t last long before generous Sylvan Lakers have scooped them all up. Often people call to ask what else they can do for our seniors at Christmas and helping us make their spaces beautiful and festive are a great way to help. The staff at Bethany puts up nine Christmas trees in the different units & public spaces. This takes lots of decorations!

“I think that most people like to support the Giving Tree to bring joy to a senior at Christmas time and it ensures that every resident of Bethany has a gift to open on Christmas morning,” explained Sandra Simpson, coordinator of volunteer services for Bethany Sylvan Lake.

“We ask that the gifts are unwrapped in a Christmas gift bag,” said Simpson. “The Friends of Bethany volunteers get together after the gift due date to finish the wrapping and ensure that each resident has a gift.”

The due date to drop off gifts is Dec. 13.

All gifts are to be dropped off at Bethany Sylvan Lake at 4700, 47 Avenue between 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Usually the wish lists on the tags ask for Christmas ornaments, slippers, non-slip socks and chocolates, but they have seen an array of different items over the years.

Additionally, Simpson advises they can’t have homemade treats, just store bought Christmas treats.

“We’re always so pleased with the response by the community to this program and just overwhelmed by their generosity,” said Simpson.

For more information contact Sandra Simpson at Bethany Sylvan Lake at 403-887-7741 ext. 236 or by email at

-Submitted by Bethany Sylvan Lake

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