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December 05, 2017 05:11 PM

Spirit Trees Help Children In Need

Only two weeks are left to make a child's face light up on Christmas day.

The Volunteers of America Dakotas is teaming up up with Lewis Drug, Shopko, and other businesses to provide Spirit Trees all across Sioux Falls.

The organization needs your help.

They may look like red tags to you. But for a child in need, each one means a Merry Christmas. 

"And that's a pretty big deal to them," Rob Shaw, Director of the Bowden Youth Center, said. 

Each tag has someone's name, and their wish for the holiday season. All you need to do is take a tag and buy the gift written on it. 

"The wishes are really manageable. We have things that range from shampoo and conditioner to a puzzle or a board game," Meg Hentges, donor relations and communications coordinator for Volunteers of America Dakotas, said.

This is just one way Volunteers of America Dakotas helps children, families, veterans, and homeless kids during the holiday season. Hentges says the organization needs your help more than ever. 

"We still have a lot of tags on the trees, which means we still have a lot of recipients who still need wishes," Hentges said. 

Shaw has seen the reactions firsthand. He says giving children these gifts helps them beyond Christmas. 

"A lot of our kids we have down here, the nature of why we're open as late as we are is — because if we weren't here — they'd be latch key kids. When people take an interest in them and care about them, that really has a unique impact on them outside of these walls," Shaw said. 

The red tags may look like an opportunity to give someone else a Merry Christmas. If you take a tag, you may find the real recipient of a gift is you, when you help children in need. 

"Just seeing their faces light up and their eyes light up is all you really need to know," Shaw said. 

Any Lewis Drug and Shopko location in Sioux Falls have a Spirit Tree. You can also visit Child's Play Toys, Highest Health Chiropractic, and Eat, Fit, Go.

Once you buy the gift, leave the gift unwrapped and underneath a Spirit Tree by Monday, December 18.
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