By John Lauritsen

CANBY, Minn. (WCCO) — It’s the giving season, and right now those living alone could use some extra cheer. In Canby, people are stepping up to make sure everyone feels included this holiday season.

At Sylvan Place in Canby, Christmas came early for resident Barb Ries.

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“It really means they care about us here,” Ries said.

She’s one of a number of residents getting a flower arrangement from New Leaf Floral. Thanks to donations, 64 bouquets were delivered to Barb and her neighbors.

“Because of the visitor restrictions, we can’t come in. We can’t have the choirs and things like that. This is just a way to show hey, we are still supporting you and we’re thinking of you,” New Leaf Floral’s Danielle Frazeur said.

The flowers are just one example of what’s happening here. Jason Anderson of Sanford Health says his senior living facilities in Canby are down about 20 positions.

“We are challenged like the rest of the state. The rest of the industry,” Anderson said.

Employees are working double shifts. So the rest of the community has stepped up to help out.

(credit: CBS)

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“I wouldn’t say the word surprised, but grateful. Because this community brings out all these things and projects and supports each other,” he said.

People have delivered food and gifts, cards and pictures. Around town there’s little doubt that the generosity will continue beyond the holidays, a chance for people of all ages to stand up for seniors.

Third- and fourth-graders at St. Peter School are getting in on the act, making Christmas trees and Nativity scenes for residents. It’s become a regular thing.

“It’s important because sometimes they feel lonely up there because they don’t have their family by them,” fourth-grader Audrey Delmonico said. “When we do it they feel happy that we care about them.”

The true meaning of Christmas is to be found right here, in a small hamlet in Minnesota.

“Everybody pulls together to help each other out. It’s really special that you can see that. It’s one of those benefits of living in a really small town,” St. Peter Catholic School’s Lindsey Anderson said.

People have delivered food and gifts, cards and pictures. Teacher Lindsey Anderson says her class got back some thank you cards, which sparked a conversation among the students and those in the long-term care facility that’s still going strong.

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John Lauritsen