Christmas is a time to be with friends and loved ones, but for many patients without families at the Utah State Hospital and Wasatch Mental Health, it can be the loneliest time of the year.

Each year the hospital has 260 patients, ranging from 6 to 90 years old, who would have no Christmas without the help of the community.The Forgotten Patient Christmas Program has been designed to help provide Christmas for these patients. The success of the program depends totally on community volunteers.

Volunteers can help in a variety of ways. Many families draw an individual patient name and provide Christmas for that person. A list of gift suggestions is supplied with a little personal information about the patient. Cash donations are also welcome for those who would prefer to have hospital volunteers do the shopping. Personal items (combs, cologne, deodorant, make-up, etc.) are needed. Candy is also a welcome gift.

The Forgotten Patient Program is quite often the only touch of the holiday spirit these patients experience. For further information call Janina Chilton or Shawna Peterson at the Utah State Hospital at 373-4400.