In the Long Prairie community, every day is a day for giving and receiving
Saturday, December 17, 2022
Is there a better way to end the year than by giving back to your community? In Long Prairie this year, several events centered around the holidays intend to bring joy and holiday cheer to local underserved communities.
From serving hot meals to fund-raising for cookies, from coat drives to collecting toys for little children, a lot has been happening during the Season of Giving in this little community! Luan Thomas- Brunkhorst, Long Prairie Area Chamber of Commerce Director said, “There is a lot of joy amidst the community this season - it is the season of giving, and the goal is to provide a memorable holiday experience for one and all. Here, people give generously of themselves, of their time, in cash or in kind. It is heartwarming to see how each one looks out for the other.”
The Christmas Kindness Toy Drive: A toy-collection event
Mark Bleess, who has helped to organize a toy-collection event for Lion’s Club, stated, “This toy collection event, the Christmas Kindness Toy Drive is centered around a long affiliation with our Long Prairie Lions Club. We are now in our 7th year.”
For Bleess and his band of volunteers, the collection process starts many weeks before Christmas. “We have dropbox locations in nine places across Todd County. People can come in any time and drop off the toys, which need to be new and unwrapped. On 16th December, we shall collect these toys and take them over to the County’s Social Services. The toys are then packaged and distributed to children.” So far, Bleess says that the response has been fantastic. “The people of Long Prairie and Todd County are kind and big-hearted. People have been giving so generously. We try our best to include teenagers too - our focus is on collecting toys for infants, right up to kids who are 16 years of age. So our aim is to be inclusive of all minor children, basically”.
Greater Good: Helping people with their daily expenses
As an ambassador for Greater Good, Rev.Kali Christensen, a pastor of the Communities of Faith United Methodist Parish & Peace United Church in Long Prairie states the event giving goes on throughout the year. “We help people to pay up their gas and grocery bills. Sometimes, a family is stricken with an emergency - a parent cannot work for a while, or there are repeated visits to the doctor. We help to defray some of the expenses that a growing family usually faces.”
Christensen acknowledges the generosity of the local community. “There are times when relatives of local people who do not even live here have given us substantial sums, with the hope that they are helping people in the county where they grew up in. Isn’t that great?” she says. “Some of those giving opportunities have been just ten dollars, and some, even more. We once received a gift for 10,000 dollars!” Kali says.
A number of events to help people give and receive
The Coat Drive was among the other events that elicited a great response from the local community. Warm clothing was collected (new and gently used winter gear) and given away during the event. Over 300 coats were given away during this drive. Cups of hot chocolate and cookies were shared too, making the occasion very special.
Another event, ‘Stuff the Ambulance’ was a great success, with over 400 toys being received during the drive, and over $3000 in cash donations were given from the community and the CentraCare Foundation. Gwen Spieker stated, “ Many people in the community just stopped to donate because they want to help others in need. One family conveyed to the volunteers that they had been impoverished a few years ago, and now they wanted to give back. Another father, whose son had passed away recently, donated his son’s hot rod cars that were still unopened in the package.”
As we near the end of 2022, we look forward to time with family and friends, good food, and giving thanks. It has been rightly said, “There is no season like the season of giving!” And this compassionate spirit of kindness is being exemplified right around the year, in the Long Prairie community. Would you like to give this season? For more information on events, please contact Luan Thomas-Brunkhorst, or call 320 732 2514.