Various donation sites available around Sleepy Eye

The holiday season traditionally brings with it the joy of sharing. However, for those who have fallen on hard times, the holidays can be a stressful time.

In the spirit of giving, various donation sites are available in the Sleepy Eye area to help those in need.

Santa’s Closet

Santa’s Closet began in Brown County in 1975, with Brown County Family Services, as a result of an identified need for toys and gifts for children from families with limited income. By 1984, the Brown County program had grown to about 100 children and had an annual budget of $3,000. The staff recognized the increased difficulty in raising the funds necessary to support this project so it was decided to look for a partner.

The Sertoma Club of New Ulm agreed to take on the project in 1985. Brown County Family Services provided the Sertoma Club with a list of recipients and referrals from area churches.

The program has seen an increase in participation in recent years with club expenditures of around $19,000. Last year, the Sertoma Club and Santa’s Closet provided over 600 children with toys, books, hats and mittens.

Drop off sites for Santa’s Closet are McCabe’s Ace Hardware, Brown County REA, SouthPoint Federal Credit Union, Bic App/Norwood, Hardee’s and the Sleepy Eye Chamber office.

The Sertoma Club was accepting new, unwrapped gifts, mittens and hats.

Donations will be picked up Dec. 13 and distributed to children in need by Dec. 14.

Giving Trees

Area Giving Trees have been long standing tradition in Sleepy Eye.

This year the National Honor Society at St. Mary’s School has organized a Giving Tree in both the high school and elementary for two organizations.

The two organizations NHS is gathering donations for are First Choice Pregnancy Center in New Ulm and the Sleepy Eye Area Food Shelf.

There are Giving Trees set up in both the high school and elementary that contain ornaments with items of need listed on them. People are asked to take an ornament and bring back the item listed on the ornament and place it by the Giving Tree. Donations can be left at either tree in the high school or the elementary school and will be accepted until Dec. 19.

For more information contact National Honor Society students Nick DeMaris or Jay Helget.

Sleepy Eye Public School is hosting a Giving Tree this holiday season through the month of December.

The Giving Tree is taking the place of classroom gift exchange and all students and staff are encouraged to donate canned foods or a monetary gift. Proceeds and donations collected will go to the Sleepy Eye Area Food Shelf.

A decorated Christmas tree in the Elementary Title I Area is the area where students, staff, parents and community members may bring in non-perishable food items. A monetary donation jar will be placed by the elementary office. It is important to note that the Sleepy Eye Food Shelf only accepts current, dated nonperishable food items. Sleepy Eye Public School’s goal is to collect 1,000 or more canned food items by Dec. 20.

Birthday Box Project

Sleepy Eye Public School is teaming up with the local 4-H club community pride project called the Birthday Box Project.

The idea of the project is to create a birthday box for a boy or a girl so that every child can celebrate their birthday. Items being asked for donation include: an aluminum cake pan, candles, cake mix, frosting, balloons, plates, napkins, plastic ware and a small gift. Each person who donates a Birthday Box is asked to wrap the box in festive paper and label it for a boy or a girl and the age category.

Birthday Boxes can be dropped off at the Sleepy Eye Public School Giving Tree where it will be donated to the local food shelf. On Dec. 20, K-6 students will have a celebration at school if the goal is reached. At Sleepy Eye Public School, we want to make a difference in the lives of others and through the powerful action of giving.

Stark Happy Hustlers 4-H Club

Rebecca and Brandon Schmitz of the Stark Happy Hustler 4-H Club and Catholic Financial Life (formerly Catholic Knights) will be collecting new packages of socks and underwear and new or gently used coats, hats, mittens and scarves of all sizes to send to the Rochester site of the St. Vincent DePaul Society.

The St. Vincent DePaul Society is a national organization that helps people out who are struggling with homelessness, loss of jobs and many other difficulties in life causing people to need a helping hand.

The donated items will be distributed to many people in the Minnesota area who are in need this time of year.

Donations can be dropped off at St. Mary’s School or Church and the Sleepy Eye Chamber office throughout the holiday season from Dec. 1 until Jan 1, 2014.

Monetary donations are also accepted and can be made out to the St. Vincent DePaul Society.