SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – As the Christmas season approaches, people across KELOLAND will be preparing and looking forward to events like Thanksgiving and the following winter celebrations and holidays. But for some in our state this season is not preprogrammed with joy.
For many, the holiday season is a time that adds to the stress over things like providing a holiday meal for the family or gifts for the children in their life. One attempt to reduce this burden is the helpline center.
At the top of the Helpline Center website, just below the COVID-19 resource banner, is a link to the vacation guides page. The Vacation Guides are something that the Helpline Center has been publishing for a while, but this year they have a new role.
This year, visitors to the site will be able to choose their location by city, zip code, or county and choose the resources they would like to have put together in a guide.
Susie Ryks, Volunteer Services Director of the Helpline Center, says the guides are meant to serve as a simple one-stop shop for people to find resources and ways to give back during the season.
“If you need winter clothes, need Christmas gifts for your family, if you are looking for a meal for the holidays, you can go straight to our website,” said Ryks.
According to Ryks, the Helpline Center compiles the guides by connecting with local nonprofits to create a comprehensive list. âThere are criteria our team goes through to make sure they’re relevant and important,â she said.
While everyone can access the guides on the helpline site, according to Ryks, the guides’ main goals are those in need and those who want to give back.
“We also added that component,” she said, “that the people who want to give back – there are lists of various holiday events going on that are potential fundraisers for nonprofits.”
According to Ryks, if people want to volunteer, Ryks can find lists of various volunteer opportunities in the Vacation Volunteers section of the guides.
Resources available in the guide include winter clothing, Christmas gifts and events, and Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and baskets.
Ryks states that when it comes to the Winter Clothing Guide, the information may include the locations, times / dates, and eligibility requirements for winter clothing collection. The guide to Sioux Falls includes places like the Bargain Basement Thrift Store in Baltic, Goodwill and Keep KELOLAND Warm.
When it comes to groceries, the guides have two main categories: meals and baskets.
“Christmas dinner and Thanksgiving meals will both be meals that individuals can go to during the holidays,” Ryks said.
Dining venues include The Banquet and the Gospel Mission in Sioux Falls.
Baskets, on the other hand, are items that people can take home to prepare meals.
“These holiday meals are great, but sometimes people just want to be with their family and enjoy Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner as a family,” said Ryks. “These will be the supplies to prepare this meal.”
When he talked about the effect of the Holiday Guides, Ryks spoke of hope.
That really gives people hope. It gives them the knowledge that they are not alone and that there are services for them. The helpline center is really there to make that connection and I think these guides are one way to do that.
Susie Ryks, Helpline Center
While the helpline center publishes the annual holiday guides, it is not idle the rest of the year. You can also find many different types of guides on the site, including regional guides, basic necessities guides, health and housing information, and even grocery calendars for different regions all year round.
âIf people need service or are looking for help, they should definitely visit our website or call 211. Our people are fantastic and they are there 24 hours a day to provide resources and support to connect them to different things, âsaid Ryks.