Fundraising efforts to ensure every local child has gifts under the tree this Christmas

Jessica Stölen-Jacobson
Montevideo American-News
CCM Health Emergency Services employees Dustin Stone and Wiley ___ were at Wal-Mart Sunday afternoon to help collect donations for CCM Health's "Stuff the Truck" campaign.

A number of campaigns are currently underway in the local area to collect donations of toys and apparel for children in need this holiday season. Throughout these programs, those leading the efforts are hoping to ensure all area children have gifts under the tree this Christmas. Listed below are summaries of the various ways in which the community can donate to the cause, as well as instructions on how to make donations.

Shop with a Cop program continues for 2021

The Montevideo Police Department is currently seeking donations for their annual Shop with a Cop program. Montevideo Police Officer Angie Milo organizes the program, with assistance from fellow officers to collect financial donations used to bring children shopping each year. The program has been going on for quite a few years. “This is my third year, and I want to say it’s been going since at least 2015 because I know when I worked here before in 2012 we hadn’t started it yet,” Officer Milo says.

Officer Milo has six families picked out for this year’s program. “I kind of go off ones that we go to their houses a lot or deal with a lot of family issues, or teachers or social workers have given me a few names,” she explains. Donations are collected through letters sent to businesses that usually donate, as well as social media posts on the Montevideo Police Facebook page. Children are given forms to fill out with their families to identify the wish lists of the household members. Once all of the donations are collected, Officer Milo and Officer Carmen Beninga organize a  budget, setting aside some of the funds to pick up gloves, hats, and supplies for a spaghetti dinner, as well as some household necessities like shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and more. 

The kids are then taken to Runnings in Montevideo to shop with police officers who volunteer their time to the project. “We’re paired up, or sometimes there are two cops to every kid and then we go to Runnings so they can shop,” Officer Milo says. The Montevideo Police Department hopes to have all donations in by December 10th. Donations can be made by dropping them off at the Montevideo Police Department or by mail to Montevideo Police Department P.O. Box 517 c/o Officer Milo. 

“We’re very grateful for all of the donations. It’s just something I really enjoy and I look forward to it every year. I’m glad the kids can actually shop with us again this year. We got the list and then the cops did the shopping and wrapping and delivered to their houses last year because of COVID,” says Officer Milo.

CCM Health "Stuff the Truck" campaign underway

For quite a few years, CCM Health’s EMS (Emergency Medical Services) ambulance crew has been conducting a “Stuff the Truck” campaign, taking donations of new children’s toys or apparel for area families in need.

Those interested in donating can find the CMC Health ambulance parked outside of the Montevideo Wal-mart Supercenter on the following dates:

•Thursday, December 2nd  -   4 -7 p.m.

•Saturday, December 4th    -   1-4 p.m.

•Monday, December 6th     -   4-7 p.m.

Additionally, there are drop boxes located at CCM Health’s Main and Emergency Room Entrances, and volunteers are needed to stand by the drop boxes to help with collections. Volunteer spots are one and a half hours long on selected days, and those interested in volunteering can contact Sue Sather at CCM Health extension 8152 or Wes Duellman at extension 8115 for more information. 

Santa Anonymous collecting funds for holiday gifts

The Chippewa County Santa Anonymous program collects funds to purchase gifts for Chippewa County Children all year long, holding an annual Radiothon with KDMA each November. The Radiothon was held on November 17th and donations are still being accepted at local banks including Co-op Credit Union, Old National Bank, and Minnwest Bank.

JC Discount Store hosts giving tree

One of downtown Montevideo's newest businesses, JC Discount Store is hosting a Giving Tree now through December 8th. The store, located in the old Ace Hardware building has a Christmas tree inside that has tags with names of members of families in need in Montevideo. Guests can choose a name and purchase gifts for the family members, wrap the gifts, then return them to the store by December 20th. JC Discount Store writes that they will deliver gifts to each family in time for Christmas. Items can be purchased anywhere donors like to shop.