November 30, 2017
CUSTER, SD – The Custer Ministerial Alliance announces the details of the annual Custer Community Christmas Project, a multi-faceted program whose over-riding goal is bringing the entire community together to experience the spirit of giving and sharing. The distribution of food baskets and Select-a-Gift, both taking place on Saturday, Dec. 16–bring the project to a culmination.
Names of individuals and families in need who are potential participants are suggested by pastors, Social Services, the Custer Food Pantry, schools and individuals. Letters are already being sent to potential participants, asking if they wish to be part of the dinner, Select-a-Gift, the food basket program or all three. Those persons are asked to return their letters as soon as possible. Anyone who is in need and would appreciate participating but who does not receive a letter is welcome to contact any pastor or Social Services. A person or family can also be suggested for participation by contacting a pastor. The only stipulation is that participants be Custer County residents.
The Store house is in need of food for over 200 baskets containing the makings for a bountiful Christmas dinner this year. Volunteers fill the bags at the Custer Food Pantry using food items donated to the Pantry and purchased with money donated to the Pantry. A list of needed items for the food baskets will be attached to the canvas Food Pantry bags at the grocery stores. Community members are encouraged to buy any or all of the items listed. Items placed in these bags and left at the grocery store, will be delivered to the Pantry. All donated food items not used in baskets are retained at the Custer Food Pantry for distribution there.
This phase of the Community Christmas Project ensures that families in need experience the joy of giving and receiving gifts. Gifts are gathered in November and December for all age groups—children, teenagers, mothers and fathers. On Select-A-Gift Day, Dec. 16, participating families pick one gift for each family member. The children as a family pick one present for Mom and one for Dad, and the parents pick one present for each child. These gifts are wrapped on the spot and tagged for opening on Christmas Day.
Trees with gift tags have already been placed in participating area churches. Gift tag trees are also at First Interstate Bank, Shopko, Family Dollar, Dacotah Bank, Highmark Federal Credit Union, True Value Hardware and the Custer High/Middle School Library. Community residents are encouraged to take tags from one of these trees and buy a gift for the person on each tag chosen. Gift suggestions are now printed on the back of the tags or a gift suggestion list appears beside each angel tree at each location.
At this time we are really in need of folks taking “mother” and “father” tags. This is so the children can get a present for their parents and this also includes single males and females in our community.
Gifts are to be returned unwrapped to the church or business where the tag was picked up by Tuesday, December 12. Then the gifts will be collected for Select-A-Gift distribution at the Custer High School gym, starting at 12:30 p.m. Dec.16. Last year the community’s sharing spirit enabled 91 area families to experience a happier Christmas with over 300 gifts distributed.
Any gifts not given out in Select-A-Gift are donated to WEAVE, the local domestic abuse shelter and to the Store House for local distribution for families and children in need.
How the Community Helps
There are numerous ways you as a resident of the community can help in the Custer
Community Christmas Project:
- Take one or more tags from any of the trees at churches, Curves, or First Interstate Bank, Highmark, Family Dollar, Shopko, Sentinel credit union, True Value Hardware, Dacotah Bank and Custer High/Middle school and elementary school; buy gifts for those persons and return them unwrapped by Dec. 12 to the place where the tags were picked up.
- Help with the gift wrapping at the Select-A-Gift site at the Custer High School gym. For information on when and where to report, and to volunteer for wrapping contact Janet Warne 673-5364.
- Donate wrappings, ribbons and bows for the Select-a-Gift wrapping. Call Juli Ames-Curtis (673-2967 or 970-391-9921) for this information
- Help fill the food baskets at the Custer Food Pantry or help deliver those that are not picked up. For information in helping in this area, call Kim Canete at 673-3753.
- Contribute a cash donation for purchases of food for the Baskets, or for Select-A-Gift presents. Donations can be given to any pastor or sent to Juli Ames-Curtis, 11936 Hay Creek Rd, Custer, SD 57730. Cash donations can be given to tellers at First Interstate Bank, and Highmark Federal Credit Union and Shopko. Envelopes will be on trees as tags listed “$$ donation”.
- Respond to letters being sent by the Custer Ministerial Alliance to businesses and individuals asking for cash donations to support all of these Christmas project events.