HARRISBURG, S.D. (KELO) – Educators in the Harrisburg School District are making sure students don’t go without this holiday season.

It is much more than just a Christmas tree inside Journey Elementary.

The Giving Tree is decorated with a special kind of ornament.

“As a district, all the counselors kind of meet together to find out who needs assistance during the Christmas time and so all schools have a gift card drive,” school counselor, Journey Elementary, Janel Prahm said.

Each tag lists a location to purchase a gift card that will eventually be given to families in the district.

“We have Fareway, even just some food places, we have Subway, Walmart, HyVee, that way you can get your basic needs, you can get food at all of those locations,” school counselor, South Middle School and Harrisburg High School, Aryca Lothrop said.

Right now, the counselors are expecting to help about 300 families.

“This is our way as a school and district to help those families alleviate that stress during the season, and we’ve seen an increase this year coming off of COVID and coming off of not having free and reduced lunches anymore, just a little bit higher need than the year before,” Lothrop said.

If you’d like to donate gift cards or other items, you just need to drop them off at any school in the district by December 9th.

“Any help is greatly appreciated and it’s a lot of work that we put into this but the payback is amazing, that feel good feeling of I’ve helped somebody and they are so appreciative of the help,” Prahm said.

The district is also accepting toy donations. Gift cards in $25 increments are preferred, but they will accept any amount you are able to give.