There are many ways people can “give back” to others in need, not only during the holiday season but throughout the year.
According to Sue Koistinen, a community service worker with Interlakes Community Action Partnership (ICAP) there is a need in this area for donations to the senior meal program. It takes $27 a week to feed a senior citizen through the Meals on Wheels program, 60 plus or frozen meals from Madison that Koistinen delivers to Arlington. She delivers to Arlington because that community doesn’t have a meals on wheels program. De Smet’s senior meal and meals-on-wheels are served at or delivered from Ward’s Store & Bakery and meals in Lake Preston are served at or delivered from the Lake Preston Café.
Both locations rely on volunteers to help with and deliver hot meals every weekday.
People who receive the frozen meals have a choice of 10 entrees that are switched up periodically. They also receive a half-gallon of milk, seven slices of bread and a jug of juice for the week. Some people cannot afford these meals, and there are others who try to make their one meal a day stretch.
The Kingsbury County Food Pantry in De Smet is always in need of donations. Monetary donations are appreciated as well as food items. Monetary donations can help the pantry provide vouchers that people can redeem at the grocery store for perishable food items that they are not able to keep on hand.. The food pantry is located on Calumet Avenue in De Smet, next to the AFLAC Insurance office. They are open every Tuesday afternoon. Questions can be directed to the Kingsbury County Food Pantry Facebook page or by calling Robyn at (605) 203-1993.
The food pantry in Lake Preston is located in the back of Sharper Image Barber Shop on Main Avenue and is administered through the Lake Preston Ministerial Association. The Lake Preston food pantry is open from 1-5 p.m. the third Friday of each month, but people can make an appointment if they need to come another time by contacting the Lake Preston Lutheran Church. They also will give people vouchers for perishable food items. For more information, call Vicar Brad Sanderson at 854-4587.
During the holiday season, one way to make a child’s Christmas a little brighter is by donating new unwrapped toys to “Toys for Tykes” drive. In De Smet Toys for Tykes is sponsored by the De Smet Community Women. Boxes are placed in American Bank & Trust, Maynard’s Food Center and the Dollar General to collect new toys that will be distributed to children in need at Christmas. The deadline for donating to Toys for Tykes is Dec. 9.
People can also buy gifts for children in need by picking up a tag from an Angel Tree and shopping for a particular child who may not otherwise receive gifts at Christmas. An angel tag is made for each child that includes gender and age and may include things such as clothing sizes and items requested. In bigger towns, the child’s first name may be included, but in smaller communities, that information is left off to protect a family’s privacy.
There is an Angel Tree in the lobby of First National Bank in Lake Preston. Tricia McCloud’s fifth-graders at Lake Preston Elementary School are into the spirit of giving by holding events such as North Pole dress up day and pajama day. Students and staff donate one dollar each to be able to participate. Also instead of getting each other classroom gifts the students donate $5 to the Angel Tree. They get about five tags each year from the Angel tree to fill. McCloud said they usually load up and head to Brookings as a class to pick out the gifts. This year they will order the gifts online in the classroom for pick up and McCloud will go to Brookings to pick them up. “Last year we had great participation and had money left over so we picked out numerous things for the food pantry in town also,” she said.
One Angel Tree in De Smet is at Dakotaland Federal Credit Union. Because of Covid-19, the lobby is closed at this time, but people can come to the drive up and request an angel tag. There are also trees at American Bank & Trust in De Smet & Iroquois, Citizen's State Bank in Arlington and the bank in Oldham.
And, as always at this time of year, Ward’s Store & Bakery has implemented the 29-Day Giving Challenge. In past years, people have been asked to bring donations of non-food items such as cleaning supplies and personal-care products— things people need but cannot purchase with food stamps— to Ward's and they were later delivered to needy people in the county. But this year, because of COVID-19, people have been asked to donate cash instead, either by bringing it to Ward’s or mailing a check to Patti Slater at P.O. Box 471, De Smet, S.D. 57231. Vouchers will then be mailed to recipients that they can use to purchase these items at Maynard’s Food Center in De Smet.