HURON, S.D. (KELO) — This time of year is the season of giving, and many community members in the Huron area are part of four-day event that raises money to benefit people locally.
The long-time tradition is called ‘The Huron Salvation Army Christmas Basket. This is the 74th year for the event. Since its start, organizers say over $1 million has been raised.
“When they first started it, they asked people to bring in potatoes for the poor people. And then it grew and grew,” Palleria said.
Frank Palleria has been the main organizer for five years and says 20 groups are performing this year.
People can watch in person, or it’s broadcast on a local channel, KOKK radio and online, so people from all over can enjoy and donate.
“We’ve had pledges from Japan. We’ve had pledges from a boat out in the Mediterranean, you know, we’re worldwide now and so it really helps,” Pellaria said.
The money raised goes to the Huron Salvation Army, which will provide Christmas baskets with food, clothes, toys and more for those in need.
“What I’m finding out is I’ve run into people who are donating and saying, ‘you know, four years ago I needed Christmas baskets, and I got them from you. Now I’m giving to you because I have a job and I’m doing well, and now I want to pay back.’ And that’s just so great,” Pellaria said.
Marianne Trandall is Pellaria’s daughter. She is a teacher at Huron High School and has performed in the event since she was young.
“I think it’s really honorable that we have this ongoing thing every year that really people rely on, and I see that a lot of my kids at school, they benefit from this. I can see which families really benefit from this, and so it’s really heartwarming,” she said.
Dan Sawka is a major with the Salvation Army’s Western Division out of Omaha. This is his first time coming up to see the event.
“It also helps us to love a community without needing to see the faces, so being able to love our neighbors and really just be involved in the lives of those that we live with,” he said.
Thursday night is the last night for performances in this year’s event, but they will accept donations through Christmas.
If you’d like to help, you can visit their website.