Volunteers get ready to create Holiday Help of East Troy packages for families in need during last year’s drive. The annual program kicks off in October with sign up for families and donation collections start mid-November at local businesses and organizations. (Eric Kramer photo)

Families in need encouraged to sign up

By Tracy Ouellette

SLN Staff

While it may seem a bit early to start thinking about Christmas with Halloween still two weeks away, Holiday Help of East Troy is already accepting applications for this year’s giving.

The program is a collaborative approach to assisting local families in need, with multiple area organizations, businesses and the East Troy Community School District and East Troy Food Pantry all pitching in to help.

East Troy Family and Community Resource Center coordinator Marolyn Komperud said the program is continuing in its sixth year because a community partnership program model that makes possible to provide families in need with gifts, winter clothing and a holiday meal during the holiday season.

In 2018, Holiday Help of East Troy served 75 families with a combined 178 children.

“It was amazing last year,” Komperud said. “Everyone is so willing to be part of this, it’s become a community-wide event.

Families who need assistance this holiday season can sign up for the program through the Resource Center, School District, East Troy Food Pantry, and Helping Hands of St. Peter’s.

“We’re here to help,” Komperud said. “And this isn’t just for low-income families. This is for anyone in need of extra help during the holidays. Someone might have a lot of medical bills, or a housing issue, or some other situation where they are short money and we are here for them as well.”

The deadline to sign up for Holiday Help is Nov. 12.


How to help

Holiday Help is looking for businesses or organizations to participate in donation collections. A participation form is available at the Resource Center’s website, easttroyfamily.webs.com.

Businesses or organizations wishing to participate, should send above form with payment (if applicable) via mail to the East Troy Family Community Resource Center, P.O. Box 962, East Troy, WI 53120. Note in the memo line of the check: Holiday Help 2019. All donations are tax deductible.

Drives can take place between Nov. 18 and Dec. 6.

For more information, contact Komperud at (262) 642-4900 or easttroyfamily@gmail.com.


What’s needed

As in other years, the Holiday Help program has multiple needs, from packages of children’s socks and underwear to teen-focused gift card to cleaning supplies to toys.

One of the biggest needs this year is monetary donations.

“We could really use cash donations this year,” Komperud said. “The cash donations were down last year, we had a lot of donations at the giving locations, everyone was so generous, but we were short when it came to the cash. We use the cash for meal vouchers and gas certificates for families so they can travel if they need to.”

For $50 Holiday Help can provide a Christmas dinner for a family. A gas gift card for $20 can help a family travel over the holidays, Komperud said.

“One thing that’s new this year is the baby drive,” Komperud added.

The program is asking for receiving blankets, diapers, baby wipes, teething toys, Onesies, bibs, burp clothes and clothes.

“We wanted to add this and we’re hoping to get enough donations to make new baby welcome packages to give new parents throughout the year,” Komperud said. “That’s something people should know. Nothing they give ever goes to waste. If we have leftovers, we make sure they get to the right organizations to be distributed to the people who need the items.”

Other items Komperud said people don’t think about that are particularly helpful include: toilet paper (four pack), paper towels, laundry and dish soap, cleaning products and hygiene products (toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, etc.).

“If a family is using a food pantry regularly, they might only get these types of items once every few months. They are always so appreciative to receive these everyday necessities,” Komperud said.

Other items needed for the drive are pajamas in sizes toddler through adult, packages of socks and underwear, books for kids of all ages and, of course, toys.

Gift cards for teen (the program’s most difficult population) are always welcome in $10 to $15 amounts for local establishments such as Cousins, 2849 Main, InkLink Books, Culver’s, Starbucks, Walmart, movie theatres, gas stations, etc.


How to get help

Prospective families in need of the Holiday Help program will be referred by the East Troy Community School District, East Troy Food Pantry, Helping Hands of St. Peter’s and other venues.

To apply for this program, families or individuals can contact the East Troy Food Pantry at 262-642-4357 or 2847 Austin St. on Tuesdays from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. or Thursdays from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., East Troy School District social worker Kim Pluess 262-642-6760 (x5242) or 262-903-8795, Diane Hamilton with Helping Hands of St. Peters 262-642-7225 or Komperud, East Troy Family and Community Resource Center 262-642-4900.


Fundraiser Dec. 7

Alpine Valley will also be hosting its annual Beer Fest fundraiser for the Holiday Help program on Dec. 7 from 2 to 5 p.m., Komperud said.


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