The “Christmas For Our Kids” program led by the local chapter of ESA received a record donation this year. The Christmas for Kids committee from Norby’s that puts together a fundraiser donated $21,573.35 to the “Christmas For Our Kids” program for this year’s families. The year’s number doubles last year’s fundraiser. Committee member Serena Campbell said that there wasn’t an empty seat at Norby’s during the event on Friday, December 8th.
“As the head of the committee, we cannot thank the community enough. The fundraiser would not be such a success if it wasn’t for the local businesses and individuals who donated, the individuals that were there the night of the auction bidding on all the wonderful donations, Bob Julson for doing and amazing job as the auctioneer, Landmark Realty for donating your time and your employees time, Norbys Bar and Grill for letting us take over your place to have the fundraiser, and to all the ladies on the committee that took time away from your families to help put smiles on children’s faces. There is not enough I can say about the amazing community that we love in. As a community we all came together to put a smile on a lot of children’s faces,” said Campbell.
The record donation will help the ESA group with helping the families. Brenda O’Hara said that in 2007, there were 28 families that the project helped. The number has grown over the years, and this year there are 55 families and 138 children on the list. That’s 11 more families and 31 more children than last year’s numbers.”We are so thankful for the monetary donations as we can take care of the additional gifts for the kids and also provide local gift cards to each family,” said O’Hara.
The ESA groups also sponsors three angel trees in Dell Rapids and also has an “Adopt-A-Family” program. The group is currently collecting all of those gifts as well as doing additional shopping for the families. The “Christmas For Our Kids” program has also given each family a gift card to County Fair.
“With the larger donations last year and again this year, we are able to increase the amount of the grocery card and also provide each family with a local gas card and a local restaurant gift card,” O’Hara also said.
The families that benefit from this program are able to pick up the gifts and also pick out a few stocking-stuffers at a central location. They also get to pick out a special pillow case for each child that is sewn by the patrons of the local quilt shop, Always Your Design. Also, for the second year, Smithfield Foods is donating a ham to each family. In addition to the pillow cases and hams, the public school always has a fun week-long donation drive collecting wrapping paper, stocking-stuffer items, batteries, and monetary donations.
“These families are all so grateful to the community for the continued support and caring that is shown every year through the ‘Christmas for Our Kids’ project, whether it is through the referrals made on their behalf, the shoppers that spend time picking the gifts, the monetary donations made, or the hard work of the Pink Ladies gathering donated items and putting on the wonderful fundraiser,” O’Hara said.
Some of the notes from those families that are being helped this year include:
- “Thank you ALL for helping me!! My kids will love anything they get. Thank you tons!!”
- “Thank you. This is such a wonderful thing you guys are doing for us. I am very grateful.”
- “Thank you again and god bless you all.”
- “Thank you guys so much! We appreciate it immensely! Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Not only the did the committee donate a record amount to the ESA “Christmas For Our Kids” program, they also donated $5,000 to two other groups. The Daily Bread Food Pantry and The Community Store each received a donation of $2,500.