With the upcoming holiday season, there are plenty of opportunities to donate locally and help out fellow community members.

Elk Point Food Pantry

The Elk Point Food Pantry serves the communities of Elk Point, Jefferson and North Sioux City. Since the pandemic began, they have been pre-bagging items for takeout as a way to help their customers.

Elk Point Food Pantry donation

Food pantries are looking for holiday food donations in order to help your neighbors and community members to have a holiday meal of their own.

During the month of November, they are in need of some food. Some suggestions are cereal, Hamburger Helper®, soup, pasta and macaroni and cheese. Basic provisions such as facial tissues, paper towels and toilet paper are also needed. If wanting to help contribute to a neighbor’s holiday dinner, items such as cranberries, stuffing, instant mashed potatoes, canned yams, corn, green beans, Jell-O®, pie fillings, pie crusts and turkeys or hams are also appreciated.

Donations can be dropped off at the food pantry, located at 107 N. Douglas in Elk Point, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 12-noon and 4 to 6 p.m. It is asked that people dropping off donations use the alley door.

Caring Committee Winterwear Collection

Immanuel Lutheran Church in Elk Point has a Caring Committee that is collecting hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, coats, snow pants and other outerwear to donate to the Elk Point-Jefferson School and charitable organizations. A collection box is located inside the entryway of the church at 607 W. Main St., Elk Point.

Husky Angel Tree

The Elk Point-Jefferson School District hosts a Husky Angel Tree every year. It’s designed to assist families who need a little extra help with gifts for their children at Christmas time. Angel tags will be available Nov. 20 and are due back Dec. 9. Tags can be picked up at the school, St. Paul, Immanuel Lutheran, United Parish, St. Joseph and Elk Point Baptist churches. A tree will be up in the entry of each church with tags for each child indicating items of clothing the child needs. Donors choose a tag from the tree, purchase and wrap the gifts with the Angel tag taped to the outside of the wrapped gift and return them to the church office. Gifts will be collected by school personnel for distribution to families.

EPJ Coat, Hat, Mitten Drive

The Elk Point-Jefferson Middle School Student Council is hosting a Coat, Hat and Mitten Drive Nov. 23-Dec. 9. Items collected are distributed to the Elementary school and the rest of the items are donated to the Elk Point Food Pantry to be distributed to families in need who live in Union County.

Winter clothes

There are many local hat, coat and mitten drives before schools close for the holidays.

Union County Winter Clothes Drive

Union County Public Building and Grounds Superintendent Scott Sexton hosts a hat and coat drive every year at the Union County Courthouse. Though mainly for employees, any donations of hats, coats, mittens or other winter wear is accepted. These donations are split between the Elk Point-Jefferson and Dakota Valley school districts. Contact Sexton at 605-356-3355 for more information or when dropping off a donation.

Union County Backpack program

Union County Community Health Nurse Lisa McInerney, in conjunction with the Elk Point-Jefferson School District, helps provide students with backpacks for food over the weekend. Right now the backpack program serves over 50 children. Monetary donations are always welcome. Contact McInerney at 605-356-2644 for more information or how to donate.

ARK United Methodist Church

ARK UMC Shopping Spree

Bri Roberts, Stephanie Cook and Sarah Sanchez dig through a tub of stuffed animals to give as gifts.

For the fifth year in a row, ARK United Methodist Church in North Sioux City has sponsored a Kids Free Shopping Spree for children to pick out gifts for their siblings and parents. They are requesting donations of gifts such as earphones, grilling items, slippers, movie kits (candy, popcorn, etc.), candles, decorations, kitchen items, toiletries, bath bombs, wallets, water bottles, hats, baking items, art supplies, jewelry, dolls, cars and bath toys. They are also in need of wrapping paper, tape, bows and tags as they wrap each gift children pick out for their siblings or parents. These items can be dropped off at the church Sunday mornings, Mondays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. or Wednesday evenings. (508 Centennial Drive – located on the far northwest end of the former Gateway building. From N. Derby Lane, go east on Freedom Drive, then turn south on Gateway Dr. Enter through the Gateway Business Center door; they are on the second floor).

ARK UMC also does a backpack program to benefit students at Dakota Valley and, since COVID, has been putting together food packages for community members. Monetary donations can be given online http://bit.ly/ARKpartner, dropped off at the church or mailed to P.O. Box 488, North Sioux City, SD 57049. If anyone would like to help, the church members pack food backpacks about every three weeks on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. Contact the church at 605-780-4767 for their next packing date.

Dakota Valley Panther Pantry

This year, Dakota Valley’s Panther Pantry is asking for a gift card drive to grocery stores such as Hy-Vee or Fareway to minimize people dropping off items at the school. However, if someone would like to make a regular food donation, it is asked that they contact Melisa Bisenius or Penney Bressler at the Dakota Valley High School for a drop off-time – 605-422-3820.

Items that the Panther Pantry accepts are any nonperishable items as well as toiletries and school supplies. Right now the pantry is low on all their items, except for cereal. They are asking for canned food, pastas and macaroni and cheese.

If sending a gift card, as requested, it is asked that the amount be written on the card, sent by Dec. 4 and mailed to the Dakota Valley High School Attn: Panther Pantry, 1150 Northshore Dr., North Sioux City, SD 57049. For more information contact Bisenius at Melisa.Bisenius@k12.sd.us.

Dakota Valley Angel Fund

A fund known as the Angel Fund exists at Dakota Valley to help children with negative lunch accounts. Any money donated into this account specifically helps those children that have high negative balances. Business Manager Jill Sponder said this year is unique as all students are receiving free meals, but they still do have some negative accounts. For more information or to send in donations, contact the Dakota Valley administration office at 605-422-3800.

Dakota Valley Angel Tree

DV Angel Tree

The Dakota Valley Student Council decorates the Angel Tree that's located in the lobby of the high school.

The Dakota Valley High School Student Council puts up a tree in the high school commons every year and sponsors an angel tree. They gather names of those less fortunate within the district and have them fill out a tag with gift ideas. Students and staff can then pick an ornament and buy gifts for that tag. Then return the gifts to Mr. Schmidt and they are later distributed to the correct buildings.