Food and Toy Drives Among Many Local Programs

Food and Toy Drives Among Many Local Programs that Give to Families in Need

As the holiday season gears up, so have many charitable giving programs throughout Belle Plaine. Here are some of the community programs helping local families in need.

Rotary Christmas Gift Project

The Belle Plaine Rotary Club  and the Scott County CAP Agency have teamed up for their 29th annual Christmas Gift Project in Belle Plaine. The CAP Agency serves as a clearinghouse that coordinates the Christmas giving of toys, food and cash donations. The program utilizes an extensive network of volunteers providing the link to local communities.

The program’s primary goal is to provide residents in Scott and Carver counties, who are experiencing financial difficulty, with toys and gifts for their children and families. The opportunity is made available in a manner insuring the confidentiality, dignity and self-worth of the participating families.

For those who want to participate in giving, they ask that you select an ornament from the designated trees at various locations and return it attached to an unwrapped gift for the “age group” indicated on the ornament.

Christmas trees with ornaments are located at Our Lady of the Prairie Catholic Church, Trinity Lutheran Church and  St. John Lutheran Church.

Drop boxes are located at State Bank of Belle Plaine, Strait Smiles Family Dentistry and Kingsway Retirement Center.

The Belle Plaine Rotary will be picking up the gifts/drop boxes Tuesday morning, Dec.  10. Distribution by the CAP Agency will happen later that day.

For more information, contact Dr. Todd Meeker at 952-873-6370.

Holiday Wishes

The Belle Plaine Public Schools are once again sponsoring gifts/groceries for area families in need this holiday season with their Holiday Wishes program. The program works by donors signing up to sponsor a family/child in either a gift or stocking stuffer category, as well as grocery gift cards to help families with holiday meals.  While many of the sign-ups have been filled, they are still waiting to hear back from some families so there may be another wave of sponsorships needed.

To view the current sponsorship needs and sign up to sponsor, visit www.signupgenius.com/go/60b0c48a5a928a7ff2-holiday2.

All gifts should be delivered to Chatfield Elementary School no later than Tuesday, Dec. 10. Do not place items for this program in the “Toys for Tots” collection bin because they will not get to their intended recipient.

An email reminder will go to all participants of this sign-up program two days prior to the drop-off deadline.

For more information, contact Kelli Quast at kquast@belleplaine.k12.mn.us.

Police Department and Girl Scouts Toy Drive

The Belle Plaine Police Department, with the help of the Girl Scouts, is sponsoring the sixth annual toy drive that gives brand new toys to children in need. From Nov. 22 through Dec. 14, the Belle Plaine Police Department will be accepting donations for the toy drive. All donated toys will be distributed to local children who are far less fortunate.

Last year, the generous Belle Plaine community donated over 1,000 toys; the police officers and Girl Scouts hope this year will be just as successful.

The Girl Scouts dropped off the collection boxes at many locations throughout town and the collection began last Friday, Nov. 22. The toy drive will end on Friday, Dec. 13, at 3:00 p.m. All toys should be new and unwrapped. Gifts are accepted for children up to 17 years of age. Do not give toy weapons or gifts with food.

Families in need of toys are encouraged to call the police department between Dec. 16 and Dec. 20 to make an appointment to pick out toys.

The drop-off locations will be at the City Government Center (during business hours), Coborn’s Grocery Store (during business hours), Oak Crest Elementary School, Chatfield Elementary School, Belle Plaine High School, and the Belle Plaine Police Department (24 hours).

Contact the police department with any questions at 952-873-4307.

Unofficial 5K Turkey Trot

This is the third year of the unofficial 5K Turkey Trot. It began in 2017 when a group of runners who ran together on a regular basis decided to plan a run on Thanksgiving morning, and then the idea expanded to bringing a donation for the food shelf. They wanted to keep the event simple and free but still give back to the community.

The first year they created an event page on Facebook and invited everyone they knew to join them. Approximately 25 runners, walkers and joggers of all ages turned up for their Turkey Trot and donated 85 pounds of food. Last year, the word spread and they had the support of the Belle Plaine cross country team and their families and the group grew to over 125 people in attendance and their donations increased to 271 pounds of food.  

The 5K begins at 8 a.m. at Heritage Square Park, 500 E. Orchard Street in Belle Plaine.  It is an “unofficial” 5K because they have not actually measured out the course except with the use of GPS on their watches. The cost is a donation to the food shelf which should be brought that day and it will be delivered the same day. Specific items that the food shelf is in need of are baking mixes and paper products; they also take cash.  

Belle Plaine Area Food Shelf Toy Collection

In addition to food items the food shelf collects all year, there is a small gift section for donations during the holiday season so those in need can have a Merry Christmas. They are accepting donations of new and lightly used, unwrapped toys.

Donations may be dropped off during their regular business hours or in the drop box on the side of the building located at 128 N. Meridian Street in Belle Plaine. The hours of operation are Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and Wednesdays from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

SVABW ‘Gifts of Hope’ for the Holiday

For the families Southern Valley Alliance for Battered Women serves, the holiday season can be a difficult time. The Belle Plaine-based organization is seeking donations to its Gifts of Hope program to make the season brighter for people in need.

SVABW is suggesting people consider donating everyday essentials for children ages infant to three years, 4 – 7 and 8 – 10, as well as preteen/teens and adults because women may leave their house without the time to pack all the items needed. Visit their website at www.svabw.org to view the donation wish list.

Donations for the alliance’s Gift of Hope program will be accepted through Monday, Dec. 9. New and unwrapped gifts may be dropped off at 551 E. Park Street in Belle Plaine.

For more information or suggestions on what makes a good donation, call Southern Valley Alliance for Battered Women at 952-873-4214 or email info@svabw.org.

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