Following in the footsteps of St. Nicholas, an "elf" quietly has been at work in Leelanau County bringing holiday cheer to senior citizens.

"Rosie Steffens is director of the Commission on Aging for Leelanau County," Sheriff Mike Oltersdorf wrote. "She is not content to live the 9 to 5 life of a governmental department head."

Several years ago, Rosie implemented a "home visit" by Santa Claus (aka Rosie), who delivers a stocking full of treats to senior citizens in Leelanau County. She generally visits 260 homes and is always accompanied by a Sheriff's officer in a marked patrol car who legitimizes the visit prior to the door being opened.

Reality for many senior citizens is that they have no family with whom to share the Christmas spirit, have serious health problems and other issues that worry them every day, and yet Oltersdorf wrote that the common response is "Oh, I don't deserve a gift, give it to someone who needs it more."

"You cannot appreciate the impact that this small acknowledgement generates unless you are there ... ," he wrote. "Everyone hugs Santa and gives thanks many times over. It chokes you up and makes you feel good for being part of the visit.

"Rosie is to be commended for ... making a real difference during the holiday season, even if for just a few minutes. Rosie is a 'saint' and cares about the people she is dedicated to serving," Oltersdorf wrote.


The Afghan Angels of the United Way of Northwest Michigan celebrated their 10th anniversary with a display of more than 150 of their hand-crafted afghans.

Over the past 10 years, hundreds of afghans have been lovingly made by the 100 members of the volunteer group and given to health care facilities in northwest Michigan. Donated yarn is sorted by color and stored at the United Way offices.

When "Angels" need more for a project, they just come into the office and "shop" for it.

"It's more than the beautiful results, it's the love that goes into each stitch and the year-round commitment ... that impresses me most," said Susan McQuaid, director of the United Way Volunteer Center.


Goodwill Inn Director Ken Homa would like to thank everyone who so generously donated to the Goodwill Inn's annual food drive.

"It was truly touching the number of individuals and businesses who shared their bounty through the donation of food, gift cards and monetary contributions," Ken wrote.

Ken went on to send a special thank you to the following community partners: Meijer for supplying the semi and generously matching gift card donations; Brown Lumber for being the host; TCRV for providing a warm trailer for the volunteers; and Team Elmer's, William's Chevrolet, Charter Media, The Fox, WKLT, WCCW, and all the wonderful volunteers.

"We cannot thank the community enough for their amazing generosity and caring hearts in helping us restock our food pantry in preparation for the hard winter months to come," Ken wrote.

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