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Santa gets some help

By Staff | Dec 27, 2009

Mackenzie, left, and her sister Emma hold up the toys they picked out from the more than 200 which were on display at the Pemberton Auditorium at Blue Earth Area Middle School last week. The toys were donated by BEA High School students.

Christmas can be a time of excess buying, cooking and eating for some people.

But, for others who can’t afford food or toys, Christmas isn’t always a time to be merry.

Several local groups worked hard last week to try and bring a little Christmas spirit to those who are not financially able to have extra food on the table, or toys under the tree.

The Faribault County Food Shelf once again prepared boxes of food to disperse to those who are in need of help.

The food shelf prepared 215 boxes just before Thanksgiving, but last week they had to increase that number to 230.

Volunteers Renny Anderson and Audrey Dawson help prepare food boxes

“I was surprised how many we needed to do, in our small town area,” volunteer Frankie Bly says. “And how many of them are single people who need some help.”

The boxes were prepared and dispersed last Monday morning, with Food Shelf Director Mavis Hilpipre and her helpers wearing Santa hats as they got the boxes ready in Pemberton Auditorium in the Blue Earth Area Middle School.Over to the side of the gym, three BEA high school students were busy bringing in many boxes of toys. The three, Alicia Rorman, Nate Carr and Mandy Warmka, took the toys out of the boxes and set them on a table.

The BEA High School student council organized the toy drive and students in the high school had donated 214 toys.

They decided to give the toys out at the food shelf project on Monday.

The student council advisor, Colby Swanson, led the toy drive. It was the first year the students have done it. Some of the high school teachers, but not all, gave extra credit to students if they brought in a toy.

Vicki Russ and Beth Core with some of the many coats available, left.

Across the street from the BEA Middle School, volunteers were manning the ‘Bundle-Up’ coat donation center at Hope United Methodist Church.

The coat give away was the idea of the Missions Committee at the local Blue Earth church. Gail Keck is in charge of the project.

It started back in September, and has been a big success. Over 90 families have been in to get coats for both the adults and the kids in the family.

“We had many generous donations of both coats and money,” says volunteer Beth Core. “We were pleased with the many donations, and surprised by the need.”

Core says one group who saw a real need for the program is the BEA bus drivers. They said they have noted some kids who were wearing very light-weight coats as winter began – and did not have hats or mittens.

BEA student Alicia Rorman holds some of the many toys the high school students donated for kids this year.

Donations came from the whole community, not just the local Methodist Church.

“Trinity Lutheran Church, the UHD Hospital and many other groups and individuals made donations,” says volunteer Vicki Russ.

The group had racks of coats set up in the basement of the church, and people could come in and get them on Saturdays and Wednesday afternoons through October, November and now December.

“We decided to be open on Monday just because the food shelf was giving out the food boxes,” Core says. “It is working out well, we have had a lot of people in today.”

“We are getting real low on coats – and cash,” Core says. “But we still have some ‘inventory’ left, so we might be open some more after Christmas, if there is still a need.

People can call Gail Keck to set up an appointment to come and get some coats.

This was the first year the church has run the Bundle Up Coat program, but Core says they sure plan on doing it again next year.

“It has gotten a good response,” she says. “I think it fills a real need in our community.