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The Spirit of the Holidays

The holidays are a season of giving and present the perfect opportunity to extend a helping hand to those in need, whether you’re donating your time, money or other resources. We reached out to two local nonprofits to learn about their holiday initiatives and how St. Louisans can get involved.

ssm health cardinal glennon children’s foundation
Being hospitalized during the holidays is a daunting prospect for anyone, but especially for children. To help bring some magic to the winter months, SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Foundation hosts Light Up Glennon. During the event, community members are invited to sing carols and shine flashlights, so the patients at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children Hospital can share in the holiday spirit. “We want to do everything we can to show Glennon Kids love during the holidays,” says Todd Wise, the foundation’s director of marketing and events.

This year, Light up Glennon is Dec. 6 and 20. Participation is free, but registration is requested. “It’s really exciting to bring this event back after not being able to hold it in 2020,” Wise notes. “It is a very sweet and impactful experience. Patients can’t be at home where they’d rather be celebrating, but they get to see that everyone is thinking of them, and the public gets to come together to support them on their journey.”

Throughout November and December, SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Foundation also holds its Tree of Hope fundraising campaign. The money raised goes toward the foundation’s Children’s Fund, which supports the immediate needs of the hospital. “This has been an extremely difficult time for health care organizations, and Cardinal Glennon has gotten through it thanks to support from the community,” Wise says. “We’re grateful, and it means a lot to our patients and the workers who have been on the frontline of the pandemic every day.”

For more information and to register for Light Up Glennon, visit To donate to the Tree of Hope campaign, visit

circle of concern
Some of the best things about the holidays are the wonderful meals and an endless variety of tasty treats. However, for people facing food insecurity, winter offers additional challenges. At Circle of Concern, the colder months are the food pantry’s busiest time of year, according to its executive director Cyndi Miller. “As we head into colder weather, utilities start going up, and the number of families we serve increases as well,” she says. “At the holidays, we always want to remember the people we serve. They face extra stress and may not be able to celebrate with their families.”

Circle of Concern has two special holiday programs. In November, people can purchase Thanksgiving baskets for families in need, which include vegetables, holiday foods and a gift card to purchase a turkey. For the December holidays, donors can anonymously gift families $50 gift cards. Around 700 families are expected to benefit from each of these initiatives. “Our clients are always surprised and grateful when they receive these items,” Miller notes. “They don’t expect this kind of support. It’s touching to see people stepping up to make a difference for others.”

Along with its holiday programs, Circle of Concern always accepts donations of non-perishable foods and monetary contributions, which allow the organization to be able to purchase fresh foods and provide financial assistance, including scholarships. “The impact of food insecurity can be far reaching,” Miller says. “It’s important that we fight the problem. We’re so appreciative that our community is willing to step up to help ensure families can access what they need.”

For more information visit,

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