Recently the staff at the Community Foundation helped with the Second Harvest North Central Food Bank’s Itasca Holiday Program. Volunteering for this program gives Foundation staff the opportunity to give back to the community and work together outside the office, but more importantly, we get to help provide Christmas presents for some very deserving children throughout Itasca County.
The best way to explain Second Harvest’s Itasca Holiday Program comes straight from their website at https://secondharvestncfb.com/get-help/food-programs/.
Itasca Holiday Program
Each year the Second Harvest’s Itasca Holiday Program brings the community together to help our neighbors through donations of food and gifts.
In collaboration with hundreds of donors and volunteers, Second Harvest Food Bank will help fill empty plates. During the holidays, families, low-income seniors and people with disabilities already struggling to put food on the table experience extra pressure to make ends meet. The Itasca Holiday Program has been helping families have a brighter holiday for over 20 years.
Special Holiday Boxes
Special holiday food boxes are the primary focus of the program. The boxes contain holiday food items and special personal care products. Over 1,700 food boxes, along with a bag of seasonal fruit and a $20 grocery voucher, are distributed to referred families, seniors and people with disabilities in the Itasca County and Hill City area. Monetary donations for the food are crucial in order to meet the need. Children ages 1-12 in the households receiving a food box will be given a gift bag provided by donations through the Gingerbread Giving Trees and Toys for Tots in Itasca County.
One young woman who was signing up for the holiday program recently shared what it meant for her family. “Last year we did not know about the program and we had nothing for the kids that year. When they were really little, it didn’t matter that much, but to explain to them at this age that Santa won’t be coming to our house because we can’t afford gifts is really hard. My husband’s hours keep getting cut and my job pays minimum wage. We are grateful to be able to look forward to a better Christmas this year, because we can breathe a little easier knowing we will have the extra food and some things under the tree. It helps a lot,” she said tearfully.
Thank you for supporting our Itasca Holiday Program
Second Harvest is very thankful to Lake Country Power Operation Round-up, Minnesota Power Foundation and Zion Lutheran Church for supporting the Itasca Holiday Program. And also, to many other local business and individuals that help to make this program happen every year.
Donor Advised Fund Make It Easy
“There are local individuals who support the Itasca Holiday Program through their donor advised fund,” remarks Sarah Copeland, Director of Grants and Programs at the Community Foundation. “Once or twice during the year, a donor will put money into their donor advised fund, and any time throughout the year, we will get a phone call or email to let us know where they would like to send grants. We often refer to donor advised funds as your ‘charitable checkbook’, because you simply put money in the fund and tell us where to send the checks. It’s that simple. Oh, and you get one annual statement with all your donations and where the money was sent.” At the end, Copeland adds, “It’s really slick! I think some donors even have Second Harvest send them a reminder about the program.”