Christmas projects seek volunteers

The Custer Ministerial Alliance announces the details of the annual Custer Community Christmas Project, a program whose goal is to bring the community together to experience the spirit of giving and sharing. Saturday, Dec. 21, is the culmination of months of planning and preparation. The distribution of food baskets is from 10 a.m. to noon at The Storehouse and the Select-a-Gift event at 12:30 p.m. that day.  
Names of individuals and families in need who are potential participants are suggested by pastors, Social Services, The Storehouse, schools and individuals. Letters are sent to potential participants, asking if they wish to be part of the dinner, Select-a-Gift, the food basket program or all three. Anyone who would appreciate participating but who does not receive a letter is welcome to contact Donna at 440-0518 or any pastor. A person or family can be suggested for participation by contacting a pastor or stopping by The Storehouse and filling out a letter. The only stipulation is that participants be Custer County residents.
Food Baskets
The Storehouse is in need of food for over 200 baskets containing the makings for a Christmas dinner. Volunteers fill the bags at The Storehouse using food donated to the pantry and purchased with money donated to the pantry. The baskets may be picked up at the Storehouse from 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 21.
Gifts are gathered in November and December for all age groups—children, teenagers, mothers and fathers. On Dec. 21, participating families pick one gift for each family member. The gifts are wrapped on the spot and tagged for opening on Christmas Day.
Trees with gift tags are in participating area churches, First Interstate Bank, Family Dollar, Dacotah Bank, Highmark Credit Union, Custer Jr./Sr. High School library, The Custer Beacon and Custer Hospital and Clinic.  
Community residents are encouraged to take tags from one of these trees and buy a gift for the person on each tag chosen. Gift suggestions are on the back of the tags or a gift suggestion list appears beside each angel tree. 
There are openings for volunteers to assist Select-A-Gift from noon to 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 21 with wrapping presents, clerking at gift tables and other tasks. Call Ione Fejfar at 673-2168 to help.  
Gifts are to be returned unwrapped to the church or business where the tag was picked up by Tuesday, Dec. 17. Then the gifts will be collected for distribution at the Custer Jr./Sr. High School gym, starting at 12:30 p.m. Dec. 21. 
Any gifts not given out in Select-A-Gift are donated to WEAVE, the YMCA daycare center and The Storehouse.
 How the
community helps
There are numerous ways community residents can help:
• Take one or more tags from any of the trees, buy gifts for those persons and return them unwrapped by Dec. 17 to the place where the tags were picked up.
• Help with gift wrapping at the Select-A-Gift site at the Custer Jr./Sr. High School gym.
• Donate wrappings, ribbons and bows for the Select-a-Gift wrapping. Call Juli Ames-Curtis at 673-2967 or 970-391-9921 for information.
• Help fill food baskets at The Storehouse or help deliver those not picked up. Call Kim Canete at 673-3753 to help.
• Contribute a cash donation for purchases of food for the baskets or Select-A-Gift presents. Checks made out to Custer Ministerial Alliance can be sent to CMA, Box 368, Custer SD 57730. Indicate which program the check is for.  
• Cash donations for Select-A-Gift can be given to tellers at First Interstate Bank, or Highmark Credit Union. Envelopes will be on trees as tags listed “$$ donation.” 
• Respond to letters sent by CMA asking for cash donations to support these Christmas project events.

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