Help is needed
So many people open their hearts during the holidays and donate to various causes which assist people who may be in financial need.
Without that generosity, many would not have Christmas.
Upper Des Moines Opportunity has co-sponsored the Adopt-a-Family program for many years with the Pilot-Tribune, reaching some 200 families and nearly 1,000 people throughout the county each Christmas. Though most of those on the list were adopted each year, some were not. Changes have been made.
This year, though the program has been revamped, the numbers or need have not changed.
Families and single elderly persons in need have been identified. Gifts and monetary donations have come in overwhelmingly.
Big or small donations, they are all very much appreciated.
One "angel" has been Matt Carstensen, a local distributor of 7-Up products, who presented UDMO director Joan Spooner with a $1,000 donation this week; and helped her select a mountain of toys with it.
"It was a pleasure to be able to do this," Carstensen said.
"It has been a God," Spooner says.
Baskets will be made up for the elderly on the list, to be delivered for the holiday.
Spooner is pleased with the donations that have come in.
"I wouldn't be able to do this project if it weren't for the people of Storm Lake or Buena Vista County. People here are very giving. If it weren't for this type of community, this wouldn't happen. These are local people - your neighbors, the people you sit by in church. Everyone pulls together.... not all communities are that way."
More help is needed. Grocery store certificates, items for teens (like certificates for pizza and movies), and items for the elderly (such as postage stamps) as well as monetary donations are especially sought-after.
Many are volunteer to help at UDMO. Some take time off off from their job each year. "It makes you feel good to help the families have a better Christmas. I have been here since 1974 and I wouldn't be in this job if I didn't like helping people."
Donations may be dropped off at the UDMO office, 110 West Railroad St. Call 732-1757 for information.