There's a group of women in Dell Rapids working to make sure everyone has a merry Christmas, this year. That includes families who may be struggling to put gifts under their tree.
The season-long project is called 'Christmas for our Kids' and for more than 25 years, the Dell Rapids community has helped make it happen. In 2016, the project collected more than $13,000 to help 47 families and 119 kids. This year is no different.
"There's about 19 of us. We go around to local businesses, get donations from them to have for our live auction on December 8th at Norby's Bar & Grill. We raffle items, live auction," Serena Campbell said.
Items include baskets from local businesses, two TV's this year and half of a processed hog.
"We give a major portion of it to another group here in Dell Rapids that goes out to buy gifts for families unable to buy gifts for their children, They're nominated and we help put smiles on their faces. We take a portion and give it to food pantry in Dell Rapids," Campbell said.
Norby's Bar & Grill is a big part of it. Employee Jody Heinemann always looks forward to the event.
"The actual auction is a lot of fun. It's packed in here when we do it. Having people bid on things. We love hearing how much has been raised. It's amazing how much the community comes together to support 'Christmas for the Kids'," Heinemann said.
The community-wide project was started by Sue Horstmeyer and is currently run by the local ESA women’s organization, a nonprofit serving the local community. Many of the organizers and volunteers, like Lori Morris, have been a part of it for at least 10 years.
"We live in a very generous community. You can see by everything around here, ample donations from businesses, individuals. It's amazing how people step up," Lori Morris said.
This year, the group will help even more families in need.
"To have children wake up and not have anything is heartbreaking. To know we helped them, to know they're loved by everyone and we helped get that, it's the most amazing thing we can do," Campbell said.
Families in need are identified through anonymous referrals. We may all know a family in our community that is going through tough times and could use our help to provide those extras over the holidays. Referred families are contacted and kid's "wish lists" are requested. These "wish lists" are filled through donations and delivered to families prior to Christmas.
The Christmas for our Kids Fundraiser will be held Friday, December 8th at 5:00 p.m. at Norby's Bar & Grill in downtown Dell Rapids. There will be a live auction, raffle items and more. Here are other ways you can help.
(1) Refer a Family in Need: Contact Brenda O'Hara or Lori Morris with family referrals. Please submit referrals by November 10th. – (Brenda: Cell 201-6571 or firstname.lastname@example.org Lori: Cell 359-8795 or email@example.com
(2) Adopt a Child or Family: You or your group can adopt a child or family and purchase gifts from their "wish lists". You will be anonymously matched up with a child or family and have fun shopping. Contact Brenda or Lori to be matched with a family.
(3) Angel Tree: There will be three Angel Trees set up with specific gift requests. Stop by Shopko, Avera Hospital, or First National Bank and take a tag from the Angel Tree, do your shopping, and return the unwrapped gift under the tree by December 14th with the tag attached.
(4) Make a Monetary Donation: Monetary donations can be dropped off or mailed to "Christmas for Our Kids", First National Bank, 312 E. 4th Street, Dell Rapids, SD 57022.
The organizers and volunteers hope to have all donations collected by December 14, 2017. If you have any questions please contact Brenda O'Hara at 201-6571 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Lori Morris at 359-8795 or email@example.com.