ST. CLOUD -- A creative event is helping to spread holiday cheer to those who need it the most this season.

The Great Minnesota Cheer Together is underway in cities across the state collecting cards to be sent to residents in CentraCare senior living facilities. Event Organizer Weston Stradtman says he was inspired to do something after seeing one of his own family members struggle during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Actually,  it goes back to my grandma. She was in the nursing home this spring and I kinda remember that when I went in there at the time, this was right when COVID started, we had to get an exception to get in there. At the time I could just tell how isolated these people were, and here we are nine months later and they're still in these facilities with little contact from outside people, so the ultimate goal is just that we want to get cards to them and maybe cheer them up a little bit.

Stradtman says he originally wanted to go caroling at nursing homes but had to change his plans.

I wanted to do something for the community and originally I thought up a plan of singing Christmas carols for nursing home residents and obviously, that is an issue due to COVID. So, I got together a couple of friends, had a conference call, and one of the guys mentioned his kids love making Christmas cards so we kind of went that route and decided maybe we could make cards for people in senior living or wherever they could use them to cheer them up during this season.

The cards can be store-bought or homemade, but you are asked not to include money, gifts, or confetti. You can find drop-off locations at various businesses around St. Cloud, Sauk Rapids, Waite Park, Alexandria, Baxter, and more by clicking the link below:

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