The spirit of giving

Heart To Heart will have in-person gift distribution again this weekend

Photo by Deb Gau Marsha Culhane and Nancy Wiese helped sort out donated Heart To Heart gifts by age range and gender at the National Guard Armory in Marshall. Heart To Heart will be going back to holding an in-person distribution day for gifts and holiday food boxes this weekend.

MARSHALL — This week, some familiar sights were back at the National Guard Armory in Marshall. The Armory gymnasium was filled with long tables, and volunteers were busy unpacking and sorting out donated gifts for Lyon County Heart To Heart.

“People have been excited about us being back in action in person,” said Lyon County Heart To Heart co-chairperson Denise Schneekloth.

Co-chairperson Emily Offerdahl said Heart To Heart had been hearing from a lot of people wondering if in-person distribution of gifts and food packages would be back.

“It’s so nice to have it all back here again,” she said. “The Armory has been such a good partner.”

Heart To Heart was one of the many local organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Because of COVID safety restrictions, the area Christmas charity wasn’t able to distribute children’s toys and boxes of food in person. Instead, they provided families with gift certificates.

But this weekend, organizers say Heart To Heart is planning to go back to its traditional distribution day, where families pick up wrapped gift packages.

“We really missed it last year,” Schneekloth said.

More than 500 area families will be receiving gifts this year, Schneekloth said. That totals around 1,700 people, she estimated.

“Our numbers are about what we expected them to be,” Schneekloth said. Last year, the number of families who applied for Heart To Heart was down, she said.

Donations of toys and other gifts for families in need were being dropped off at the Armory on Monday.

“Communities in our area are extremely generous,” Schneekloth said. Heart To Heart also has good partnerships with area businesses and community groups, she said.

Besides the chance to make a difference for families in need, long-time volunteers were also happy to see each other again at Heart To Heart.

“It’s fun, because a lot of the volunteers are the same,” Schneekloth said.

Donations for Heart To Heart can be dropped off at the Armory until Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Schneekloth said there’s a need for gifts for teenage boys and girls. Heart To Heart is also accepting family gift items as well.

Distribution of gifts and Christmas meals for registered families will start Saturday morning at the Armory.


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