There’s a group of dedicated volunteers that always helps make the holidays brighter for many people.
In a tradition that dates back to 1979, the Linn County Mental Health Association put on its annual Christmas dinner on Monday evening at Albany First Christian Church.
The organization prepares a feast — turkey, mashed potatoes and all the trimmings (it’s potluck on salads and desserts) — and has presents to give to children and clients of Linn County Mental Health Services, of which nearly 100 were in attendance. One nice lady, Cherry Bellows of Lebanon, made 87 sets of beaded earrings and necklaces.
members, friends and some 30 volunteers, including US Bank employees and members of First Christian’s high school youth group, there were about 150 people at the event.
Santa Claus (aka Yours Truly) led the audience in “Jingle Bells” and other holiday tunes and told some bad Santa jokes. (Question: “What do they call Santa when he goes down the chimney while there’s a fire in the fireplace? Answer: “Crisp Kringle.”)
The Mental Health Association also puts on a summer picnic, provides YMCA scholarships for clients of Linn Mental Health Services and holds a monthly gathering at 3 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at Villas of Albany, 1560 Davidson St. S.E.
Nora Sonne, secretary of the Mental Health Association and a Christmas dinner organizer, says the group has a special holiday wish this year: new board members. Anyone who would like to serve on the board can call Nora at 928-3751.
Roller Coaster Anonymous, a new support group for people with mental health issues, meets from 1:45 to 2:45 p.m. Fridays at First Christian Church, 432 Ferry St. S.W. The group will not meet Dec. 24 and 31. For more information, contact Ernest at 541-967-3866.