Photo by Charity Maness/Fall River County Herald-Star
Trey Hull shows off the Battle Mountain Humane Society giving tree at Ace Hardware.
By Charity Maness
HOT SPRINGS ¬– Throughout the businesses within the town of Hot Springs you may notice trees with envelopes lightly hanging from the fronds, or toy and food collection bins decorated in seasonal décor. All of these are opportunities for those in the community to give back to the community during this holiday season.
“This is the first year we incorporated some new thoughts into our plans and it’s working out very well,” said Battle Mountain Humane Society co-founder Tonia Wagoner of the creative giving trees at Ace Hardware and Bomgaars. “We hope to raise money to help with our most expensive items like veterinarian costs and food.”
“We will have the Battle Mountain Humane Society tree up until December 24th or until all the envelopes are gone,” said Terry Burris, Ace Hardware Manager. Each envelope is just waiting to be filled with Christmas cheer for animals awaiting their forever home.
Bomgaars is joining the Christmas spirit with a special event each weekend beginning with a scavenger hunt featuring the 12 days of Christmas that was held Dec. 5. “We want to give back to the community that has been so supportive of us,” said RexAnn Miller, Bomgaars head cashier.
On Dec. 12, they will have a pet adoption for STARS – Save Them All Rescue – and will finish with a food drive on Dec.19 for the Hot Springs Food Pantry complete with live musicians playing Christmas music.
The Hot Springs Food Pantry operated by the Hot Springs Ministerial Association (HSMA) will have collection boxes at many of the churches in town and will gladly accept donations of non-perishable food items during the open business hours of Tuesday-Thursday 1 to 3 pm and Saturday 10 am to 12 noon. “Monetary donations are also very welcomed,” said Kay Birkholt, Hot Springs Food Pantry coordinator, “we can maximize ever dollar donated.”
Hot Springs Theater is hosting a ‘match your donation’ event throughout December for the food pantry/HSMA. They will accept donations during business hours of Friday and Saturday 5:30 pm to close. Each donation will be matched equally by the theater and anonymous donors.
The Chicago Street Café is also feeling the Christmas spirit with a themed event added each week to raise funds for local non-profits and gifts for people in need.
The café kicked off the month of giving with a Mitties for Kiddies event on Dec. 1. This event lasts until Dec. 15. For any donation given to Toys for Kids – a local non-profit that collects toys for local youth - a paper mitten can be signed with your name, favorite memory or saying to enhance the Christmas decorations in the café’s front window.
From December 7th to the 20th the café will showcase a Santa Tree.
“The Santa Tree gives the community a chance to give to someone in need anonymously,” said Rachelle Still, Chicago Street Café staff member. Explaining that if a child, adult or senior may be in need of some Christmas cheer and love they can call the café at 605-745-4360 or stop by at 138 S. Chicago Street and confidentially give the gender, interest or needs and “we put that info on the tree so people can take the angel and shop,” said Still. The café will then take the gifts, wrapped or unwrapped to the family in need.
“We just started letting people know today that we were going to do this and we already have 26 children on the tree,” exclaimed Still, excited to be helping her community; her family.