SHERIDAN — The holiday season is all about giving and receiving and this year, there are plenty of opportunities for Sheridan residents to participate in the giving part of the season.
The Sheridan area is home to many nonprofits and organizations that are working hard this season to ensure that the holidays are happy for as many area residents as possible. To that end, there are numerous “drives” going on in the county to collect items that will help bring cheer and assistance to individuals and families in need.
The People Assistance Food Bank’s primary service is to provide food to people in need and their holiday food drive is well underway. Food, personal hygiene and cleaning products can be dropped off at their 2560 N. Main St. location or cash donations can be made. Dan Lick, director of PAFB, said the organization recently gave away 400 food boxes for the Thanksgiving holiday and expects there will be more need for the Christmas holiday.
“People are getting more and more in need,” he said. “We are seeing lots of new people who just can’t make it.”
Lick said the PAFB serves between 150 and 200 people per day and averages 8,000 pounds of food given away each week. He added that people are particularly generous during the holiday season, which he hopes will carry the food bank for a few weeks into the new year as well.
Additional food banks accepting donations this season are Joseph’s Storehouse at Bethesda Worship Center, The Salvation Army Food Bank at 150 S. Tschirgi and Volunteers for America, with the donations being accepted at The Gathering Place
The Tongue River community is also having a food drive for area residents. Food items, as well as toys or cash donations to purchase food and toys, can be dropped off at either Tongue River Valley Community Center location (Dayton or Ranchester). In addition, the Boy and Girl Scouts will be delivering food donation bags on Dec. 7 and picking them up on Dec. 14.
Donated food will be sorted into boxes and delivered on Sunday, Dec. 15.
New for this year is Season’s Readings, a program sponsored by The Sheridan Press, that will gift books to area children who might not otherwise receive a book for Christmas.
Area residents are asked to donate gently used books that cover reading age groups from beginning readers through middle school-aged readers.
Books are being collected at both McDonald’s locations, Sheridan College, The Sheridan Press, Sheridan Fulmer Library and Java Moon through Dec. 10. All collected books will then be sorted by age group and distributed through The Food Group to area children.
Toys for Tots is a well established program that has been operated on the national level by the U.S. Marines for many years. It is sponsored locally this year by Cloud Peak Initiatives and there are drop-off boxes in almost two-dozen locations.
To participate, drop off an unwrapped, new toy at any of the drop-off locations by Dec. 19. On Dec. 21, parents are welcome to come to Cloud Peak Initiatives at 151 W. Brundage St. to select a toy for their children. There is no charge to participate, though parents must show a Title XIX card or Social Security number for each child.
A “One-Day” toy drive will be held Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. New toys can be taken to the Salvation Army van, which will be parked in front of Wal-Mart.
Although the holiday season will be over in a few short weeks, the cold winter weather will linger for many more weeks, and the Kiwanis Club of Sheridan wants to make sure that people who need winter clothes receive them. To that end, they are sponsoring a coat drive through the end of December.
“Martinizing donates all the dry cleaning so when I take them down to the Salvation Army they are clean and ready to wear,” said organizer Judy Taylor. “We take them to the Salvation Army and they are free to anyone who comes in and says they need a coat.”
Taylor said all types of coats are welcome, as well as all sizes, from coats that will fit infants up to large and extra large adult sizes. Coats can be dropped off at Martinizing Dry Cleaning behind Perkins Restaurant where they will be professionally dry-cleaned before distribution.
Finally, the Dog and Cat Shelter is making sure that Sheridan’s four-legged residents will be taken care of this holiday season as well by sponsoring its annual “Dog and Cat Christmas Trees”.
Christmas trees can be found at the shelter, Warehouse Market, Sheridan Seed, CMS Pet Products and Paw Prints Pet Boutique. The trees are covered with ornaments featuring pictures of current shelter dogs and cats and people can take an ornament and purchase a product for that animal. The ornaments were made by the Interact Club of Sheridan High School with help from Tristyn Reeves.
“Quite a few people want to meet the animal they ‘adopted’ and make special trips to the
shelter to give their dog or cat an early Christmas present,” said Shelter Director Cel Hope. “All have a great time, especially our cats and dogs who have no family to spoil them.”
Suggested donation items include collars, leashes, bags or cans of food, treats, cans of tuna, toys and milk replacement for kittens.
The Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce has compiled a large list of community charitable holiday events and programs. It also includes the various drop-off locations for the Toys for Tots toy drive. The list can be found on their website at www.sheridanwyomingchamber.org