SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A Sioux Falls sporting goods store is spreading some holiday cheer in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Scheels is in the process of handing out tens of thousands of dollars to local non-profit organizations during its 12 Days of Giving.
Scheels is stuffing the stockings of local non-profits with cash during the 12 Days of Giving.
“We received almost 5,000 votes. We narrowed it down to your guy’s top-12 and over the course of 12 days we’ve been announcing who our winners are,” Scheels Events Coordinator Jenna Schlapkohl said.
In 2020, the winners shared a total of $12,000. This holiday season, during the campaign’s second go-around, Scheels has more than tripled that dollar amount.
“We wanted to be able to give back, even more, this year, so yeah $37,500, $2,500 to eleven people and $10,000 to one lucky person,” Schlapkohl said.
Events Coordinator Jenna Schlapkohl has been handing out check after check-in recent days and says every non-profit has a unique story.
“Every time I get to talk to somebody from the non-profit they are so invested and they care so much about their cause and it’s really fun to just hear about them because I don’t know a lot about them either so it’s just heartwarming,” Schlapkohl said.
More than 100 individual non-profits were nominated with the top-12 receiving checks, including the Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation.
“We have 24,000 students, 1,800 teachers, so you get a lot of bang for your buck when you support the Sioux Falls Public Schools and the Education Foundation,” Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation Executive Director Allison Struck said.
Executive Director Allison Struck accepted the $2,500 check on behalf of the Education Foundation.
“This is just an incredible gift for our students and our staff. This gift will fund our programs that enhances education at all 37 schools in the Sioux Falls School District,” Struck said.
The money will eventually make its way into the hands of teachers.
“This will be used for our Public School Proud Grants which we award those in the spring. Any teacher can apply for up to $10,000 to purchase hands-on immersive materials for students,” Struck said.
“I grew up here, I went to school here, my sister’s a teacher here so seeing that turn around and help those kids out, I love it,” Schlapkohl said.
The Yakkity Yak Coffee Shack in Sioux Falls is also among the $2,500 winners.
“We’re thankful and grateful,” Yakkity Yak Coffee Shack Director of Marketing Ashley Meiners said.
The Coffee Shack provides an all-inclusive environment and opportunities for people of all abilities.
“The motivation behind it is this startling statistic that 80% of people with intellectual and developmental differences are unemployed in the nation,” Meiners said.
Yakkity Yak is currently fully staffed but the dollars will be spent with every new hire.
“What that money will be used for is supplying adaptive equipment that will then be used by the workers and it just varies person to person what that may be and what they need,” Meiners said.
“Before my vision problem, my hobby is cook,” Yakkity Yak Coffee Shack employee Yeshua Prestan said.
Yeshua Prestan is originally from Columbia. His vision problem surfaced 13 years ago. Now, he’s legally blind but prepares all the food at the Coffee Shack.
Yakkity Yak’s owner says Prestan has never cut himself.
“The first time I cut very slow, maybe ten years ago, and right now for me it’s very easy you know, it’s just practice,” Prestan said.
Prestan enjoys cooking Latin, Mediterranean, and Italian food, and feels at home in the kitchen.
“I’m very grateful for this opportunity, yeah,” Prestan said.
Yakkity Yak is part of the 12 Days of Giving for a second consecutive year.
“I think they’re a great organization. I’m really glad that they were on the list again,” Schlapkohl said.
They’re also a prime example of why Scheels plans to give back for years to come.
Scheels will announce its $10,000 grand prize winner on Wednesday.
They’re hosting a Christmas Party, including a visit from Santa, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday.
They’ll have gift wrapping available for a free will donation benefiting Children’s Home Society.