SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — With the holiday season approaching, people across KELOLAND will be preparing and looking forward to occasions such as Thanksgiving and the winter celebrations and holidays that follow. But for some in our state, this season does not come pre-packaged with joy.
For many, the holiday season is one that adds increased stress over things such as providing a holiday meal to the family or gifts for the children in their lives. Stepping up in an attempt to ease this burden is the Helpline Center.
Across the top of the Helpline Center website, just below the COVID-19 resources banner, is a link to the Holiday Guides page. The holiday guides are something the Helpline Center has put out for some time now, but this year, they have a new feature.
This year, visitors to the site will be able to set their location by city, zip code or county, and select the resources which they would like compiled into a guide.
Susie Ryks, Volunteer Services Director for the Helpline Center, says that the guides are meant to serve as an easy one-stop shop for people to find resources and ways to give back throughout the season.
“If you are in need of winter clothes, if you’re in need of holiday gifts for your family, if you’re looking for a meal to go to during the holiday, you can go right to our website,” said Ryks.
Ryks says that the Helpline Center compiles the guides by connecting with local non-profits to create a comprehensive list. “There’s criteria that our team goes through to make sure it’s relevant and important to include,” she said.
While anyone is able to access the guides on the Helpline site, Ryks says the main targets of the guides are those in need and those looking to give back.
“We’ve added that component as well,” she said “that those people who want to give back — there’s lists of different holiday events that are going on that are potential fundraisers for non-profits.”
If people desire to volunteer, Ryks says they can find lists of different volunteer opportunities within the Holiday Volunteers section of the guides.
Among the resources available in the guide are those providing winter clothing, holiday gifts and events, as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and baskets.
Ryks explains that when it comes to the winter clothing guide, the information may include the locations, time/dates and eligibility requirements to pick up winter clothing. Included in the guide for Sioux Falls are locations such as the Bargain Basement Thrift Store in Baltic, Goodwill and Keep KELOLAND Warm.
When it comes to food, there are two main categories listed in the guides: meals and baskets.
“Christmas meals and Thanksgiving meals both are going to be those meals that individuals are able to go to during the holidays,” said Ryks.
Baskets on the other hand are items that people can take home to make meals.
“Those holiday meals are great, but sometimes people just want to be with their family and have that Christmas or Thanksgiving meal as a family together,” said Ryks. “This is going to be those supplies to be able to make that meal.”
Speaking about the impact of the Holiday Guides, Ryks spoke of hope.
This really gives people hope. It gives them the knowledge that they’re not alone and that there are services out there for them. The Helpline Center is really there to be that connector and I think these guides are one way that we’re able to do that.Susie Ryks, Helpline Center
While the Helpline Center puts out the annual Holiday Guides, it isn’t idle throughout the rest of the year. On the site, you can also find many different types of guides, including regional guides, basic needs guides, health and housing information and even food calendars for different regions throughout the year.
“If people are in need of services or are looking for help, they should definitely check out our website or call 211. Our staff are fantastic and they’re there 24 hours a day to provide resources and support to get them connected to different things,” said Ryks.