Gifts come in more than just packages

By Jeff Smith

A few hearts up on the Christmas tree at Alpine Inn. The hearts are to get gifts for area children who might need extra gifts for Christmas.

It’s the season of giving. This time of year is the best time to improve people’s lives and infuse joy in the holiday season.

People who are willing to give can donate to the pantry at Little White Church. The food pantry is open there Monday and Friday 9-11 a.m. The items that can be donated are canned goods, boxed meals and paper products. There is also a donation site at Krull’s Market.

Stephanie Larsen, office administrator at Little White Church, said paper products is something that is needed right now.

“There is a lot of canned items right now. Peanut butter is big right now and tuna is big,” Larsen said.

The church can also take meat as there is a freezer they can store it in.

People that come into the pantry receive two bags of food, two paper products and a $10 gift card to Krull’s Market. There is a limit to how many times people can visit. They can visit up to three times for the first six weeks. After that it is once every three months. For first-time visitors there is a form that they need to fill out.

Larsen said there are new directors with the food pantry so the rules could be changing.

Many members of the church supply items to the food pantry but Larsen said there are quite a lot of donations from all over the community too.

Currently, at the Alpine Inn, people can pick up paper hearts for the Gifts from the Heart tree. On it there is either a description of either male or female plus an age to buy gifts for. The children that the hearts are for are from Hill City, Keystone and the WEAVE shelter in Custer.

The Gifts from the Heart program is sponsored by Alpine Inn and Xi Alpha Chi in Hill City.

There are around 50 hearts that have been dropped off at Alpine Inn. Sheila Grieme, secretary for Xi  Alpha Chi, has been involved in the program for 12 years and said that the amount of gifts needed has stayed about the same. Grieme said there is usually around 50-60 hearts every year.

This year there is one more element to the program in addition to the gifts. Along with the gifts the children will receive a pillow and pillowcase.

“Each one will have a pillow and their own bright, colorful pillowcase,” Grieme said.

Seventeen women are involved in the Xi Alpha Chi program. Last year there were names last on the tree and the Hill City Chapter of Beta Rho stepped up and took the hearts.

Grieme said the program is important for children in the area to make their Christmas since many are not sure what they are going to get.

Wally Matush said some type of tree like the Gifts from the Heart tree has been at Alpine Inn since 1988.

“It’s been many many years,” Matush said.

She said some children aren’t as fortunate and they need a gift.

The gifts for the children have to be back by Dec. 13. The are delivered around the week of Dec. 17.