A community project in Egan has surpassed all expectations and the joy of giving was well seen this holiday season.
The Egan American Legion Auxiliary (F. C. Schroeder Unit #97) sponsored a special event called, “25 Days of Christmas Giving for Veterans.”
Organizers asked for donations over a 25 day period that would then in turn be donated to the Sioux Falls Royal C. Johnson VA Health Care’s gift shop or delivered to local veterans.
Patients at the VA hospital could then “shop” from the store free for items to give to their family members. Items included personal care, games, clothing, etc.
“The turnout and participation from the community and beyond was incredibly overwhelming,” said one of the organizers, Bonnie Hemmer. Over 500 gifts, personal care items, and miscellaneous items, not to mention numerous monetary donations, were donated to this project.
“All goals set, and expectations were wildly surpassed,” she added. The Egan Auxiliary provided a remarkable contribution to the VA Health Care System and supported local veterans.
A calendar was created and shared on social media with ideas and gift topics presented for each of the 25 days. Volunteers then hosted donation gatherings at the Egan Methodist Church and The Cottage in Egan each Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday. Refreshments were donated and on the last Sunday numerous soups and goodies were available for the crowds.
The sizeable transport of around 200 pieces of “store inventory” was delivered by the Auxiliary members to the VA for veterans who are in the hospital and nursing home. Veterans then had the opportunity to shop for their families on November 29th and 30th from these items.
For the items delivered locally, a gift-wrapping session by volunteers, worthy of Santa’s Workshop, occurred in the church basement. They were then boxed up and presented to local veterans at Riverview Healthcare Center (10), Edgewood Vista (5) and in the general community (15). These gifts included personal care items, clothing, games and puzzles.
“Their gratitude to see the support and service offered to them by the Egan Auxiliary is heartwarming and inspiring enough to continue this in following years,” said Hemmer. The Auxiliary is already making plans for next year.
“Thank you to everyone who participated in the event and a special thank you to the volunteers who helped gather and wrap gifts for the community veterans,” she concluded.