Volunteerism solely at heart of Community Action Team

Photo by Brett Nachtigall/Fall River County Herald

Some of the members of the board of directors of the Fall River Community Action Team recently posed for a photo together inside their thrift store in downtown Hot Springs. Pictured from left are Karen Montgomery-Smith, Jullian Zornes, Bea Olson and Barb Walter. Not pictured is Brenna Schmdt.


By Brett Nachtigall


HOT SPRINGS –  In some form or fashion, most all residents of Fall River County volunteer for their community in some way; whether that be for their church, school, civic organization, social club or neighborhood. Its part of what makes living here so appealing for everyone.

There’s also another group of volunteers in our county, who are so dedicated to their volunteer efforts and the benefits to the community, that its actually more of a job for which they get no pay, rather than something they simply do in their spare time.

One of those such groups are the volunteers with the Fall River Community Action Team in Hot Springs. Current volunteer board of director members include Jullian Zornes (president), Karen Montgomery-Smith (vice president/treasurer), Brenna Schmdt (secretary), Barb Walter (parliamentarian) and Bea Olson (liaison).

With a storefront business currently located near the stoplight in the Sandstar Building at 108 N. Chicago and open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the mission of the organization is “to actively seek to improve the quality of life of the economically disadvantaged, the distressed, and/or the low-income elderly through the implementation of a variety of programs and services.”

The local group works in tandem with the Western South Dakota Community Action which offers a wide variety of regional services for qualified residents, but there are also several local services that are available to all area residents, most notably Community Action’s Treasures Boutique and Thrift Store.

Despite not having any paid staff, but needing a means to offset the cost of rent, utilities and other expenses of operating a storefront business, the Community Action Treasures Boutique sells new or nearly new clothing, books and household décor. The Thrift Store meanwhile is where one can pay just $1 per bag to fill with clothing, books and household items. If a shopper cannot afford the $1 per bag cost, vouchers are also available for those who need emergency help.

Other locally-run services include delivering a variety of fabrics and clothing for recycling to South Dakota reservations, an Angel Tree which helps Santa make a happier Christmas for many local residents, a Diaper Program to help families with very young children, as well as a Veterans Assistance program that provides clothing and household items for veterans graduating from the programs at the VA Hospital.

On the backside of the aforementioned services related to the Community Action Team, is the service they provide to local residents who have accumulated a number of now-unwanted items, oftentimes leftover rummage sale goods, which would otherwise end up going to landfills instead of to people who need them.

This is truly where the hard work of the Community Action volunteers kicks in, and is also where they could use a high level of help and consideration. Community Action gladly accepts and needs donations from the community in the form of goods, but requests the items be dropped off during regular business hours when they have volunteers available to accept and go through the items.

Oftentimes when items are simply left at their door, it can create a burden to the volunteer staff to go through it all and get it ready for their patrons. While a blessing, the abundance of generous donations has also created a space shortage at the current 1,000 sq. ft. location downtown, so plans are currently underway to move into a much larger 4,100 sq. ft. location soon.

While a move-in date has not been set, the new home of the Fall River Community Action will be the former Mammoth Signs building at 647 S. 5th Street, which prior to it becoming Mammoth Signs, was High Plains Graphics for many years.

In addition to all of the previously mentioned services solely operated by local volunteers, the Fall River Community Action Team also service as the vehicle for which the Western South Dakota Community Action Team can provide its services to the local qualified family.

With income-based requirements, some of those services include the Senior Food Box/Commodities, Personal Care Items, Employment Assistance, School Supplies, Low or No Cost Energy Saving Kits, Furnace Repair/Replacement, a Garden Program, as well as many other services.

For more information about all the things that the Fall River Community Action Team provides for the area, call 605-745-3400.

Fall River County Herald Star

EDGEMONT OFFICE: 410 2nd Avenue   Edgemont, SD 57735-0660 | 605.662.7201
HOT SPRINGS OFFICE: 334 S. Chicago St.  Hot Springs, SD 57747 | 605.745.3930
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