Nearly 200 patients at the Utah State Hospital will have little or no family support during the holiday season, according to Janina Chilton, public information officer at the hospital.

Volunteers are needed to help by sponsoring these forgotten patients for Christmas through the hospital's Forgotten Patient Program.Chilton said Christmas presents, cards and candy are all needed to help brighten the patients' Christmas. Volunteers may sponsor an individual patient or may choose to provide items that are needed by many of the patients.

Most of the patients at the State Hospital are adults, many of them middle-aged men. Personal toiletry items such as combs, cologne, socks and underwear always are needed.

Volunteers may purchase these items as gifts or make cash contributions for the staff to buy the needed items. The patients also enjoy receiving personal Christmas cards from people in the community.

For many church groups, clubs, and families, the Forgotten Patient Program has become a tradition and a way to spread the Christmas spirit.

Although the gifts are not given to the patients until Christmas, some patients may also be visited during the Christmas season, and all the patients enjoy receiving Christmas goodies.

For more information on the Forgotten Patient Program and other Christmas service opportunities, call the United Way Volunteer Center at 374-8108.