The reason for the season

By Kacie Svoboda

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The holidays are a time filled with shopping, family traditions and special events for everyone to enjoy. This holiday season is also the season of giving. A time when we hopefully reflect on those in our own communities and around the world who are struggling to meet basic needs let alone what they can afford for Christmas presents. There are many opportunities at the local and international level to step up to help families and individuals improve their holidays as well as their quality of life.

Within our own community, there are several options for charitable giving. First, the annual Xi Alpha Chi Sorority Gifts from the Heart program, where anyone can select a paper heart from a tree at the Alpine Inn. Each heart has the age and gender of a local child which can be used to select a gift to be delivered before Christmas. However, gifts needed to be returned to the Alpine Inn by Monday Dec. 12.

This year, Homeslice Media is sponsoring a Toys for Tots drive for Hill City and Keystone children. Donations can be left in boxes at Krull’s Market, the Farmer’s Daughter, Everything Prehistoric and the South Dakota State Railroad Museum. Toys will be picked up this week and toys will be distributed Monday, Dec. 19, from 5-7 p.m. at the Little White Church.

The second annual Purses for the Homeless Drive will provide gently used purses full of personal hygiene products and winter clothing items. The purses and products can be dropped off at collection boxes at the Hill City Senior Center until Monday, Dec. 19. Volunteers are also needed to fill the purses on Tuesday, Dec. 20.

The Community Food Pantry at the Little White Church (LWC) is taking donations throughout the holidays, with drop-off bins at Krull’s Market. Those interested in donating can also call the LWC to arrange to bring food items directly to the church or make a monetary donation at Krull’s, with a voucher for perishable food items.

The fulfillment of giving to others was a lesson I learned at a young age. When I was a child, I had an elaborate allowance system that was divided into categories. I had a jar labeled for each category such as long-term savings, free spending, donations, etc. A certain percentage of my weekly allowance went into each category. One year, rather than just giving my donation money to the church I chose to donate to the Heifer International program.

Heifer International is unique. Rather than providing one-time donations of food or clothing, it attempts to set up families in impoverished countries with a sustainable way to feed their family and earn a living.

My donation purchased a goat for a family in a third world country. The goat provided milk not only for the family to drink but also to sell to earn money to hopefully purchase more goats. This followed the practical application of the Chinese proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

I remember the gratifying feeling that my little weekly collection had purchased a goat that could change the life of a family in Zanzibar. That feeling is something we can all experience through one of the local programs mentioned above, simply helping a neighbor or donating to an international program. For a small donation of time or money, you can make a difference in someone’s life.

The satisfaction in helping someone else is one of the greatest gifts you will ever receive. For those interested in making a donation to Heifer International, visit heifer.org.

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