Staff and volunteers wrap presents for patients at Oregon State Hospital in Salem and Junction City.

Every patient at Oregon State Hospital will receive a wrapped present with two gifts inside this holiday season, thanks to a 37-year-old volunteer effort, the Caring Tree.

As the holidays approach, staff, volunteers, and outside donors purchase gifts for patients by selecting a card from the Caring Tree in the hospital entrance lobby. Some donors also make monetary contributions to help fund gift shopping.

As gifts are collected, at least 500 volunteer hours are put into wrapping gifts for each of the 687 patients at the psychiatric facilities in Salem and Junction City.

The Caring Tree sits in the lobby at Oregon State Hospital in Salem.

The project celebrates the season of giving, not any specific holiday, said Marilyn Nichols, volunteer coordinator of Oregon State Hospital. Patients may have differing religions, she explained, but the volunteers still want to make sure each patient is given a gift that brings them joy during this time of the year.

“I want to make sure the patients have a nice holiday,” said Nichols.

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