‘Giving from our heart’

Holiday Service Project seeks gently-used gift donations, drop-off set for Dec. 13

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS
Gently-used shoes, clothes, toys and more were donated to the Holiday Service Project drop-off Tuesday evening at Trinity Lutheran Church. The church will also host the next drop-off, set for 4-5:30 p.m. Dec. 13.

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS Gently-used shoes, clothes, toys and more were donated to the Holiday Service Project drop-off Tuesday evening at Trinity Lutheran Church. The church will also host the next drop-off, set for 4-5:30 p.m. Dec. 13.

For some Central Iowa children and families in need, the idea of unwrapping a gifts on Christmas morning may seem out of reach; this year, one project is focused on getting gifts under as many Christmas trees as possible.

“We’re just calling it a Holiday Service Project,” said coordinator and Hoglan Elementary School mother Amanda Thill of the gift-giving project she started in November. “I had put a post on my personal Facebook page asking if anyone would be interested, and I had probably a good 10 or 12 people voice interest, so we just started a group chat.”

Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lynn Olberding was among those Thill reached out to about the project.

“Amanda reached out to me and a few others to see if there would be interest and support in doing a project this holiday season,” Olberding said. “The idea is to donate gently-used clothes and toys to children who could use them.”

Thill emphasized that the intent of the project is not to have people go out and buy brand new toys and clothes, but to donate gently-used items they already have for local elementary school students in need.

“I’ve been saying instead of sending money or giving from our wallet, we’re giving from our heart,” Thill said. “I’m not asking for anything new.”

She added she’s been working with Marshalltown Schools to find out what students’ gift needs are this Christmas.

“I just reached out to the elementary schools here in the Marshalltown Community School District, and they are coming up with a list of those in need and [clothing and shoe] sizes,” Thill said. “I’ve had good response from the schools.”

She added the lists do not include students’ names, just what their needs are this holiday season.

“Amanda has a huge heart and really wanted to offer a great opportunity for people to make a difference this holiday season,” Olberding said. “I think everyone involved with the project was excited to support her vision and give back in a small way.”

The project’s first gift drop-off night was held Wednesday at Trinity Lutheran Church, and donated items included toys, shirts, pants and shoes. A second drop-off is scheduled for 4-5:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at the church, 1011 S. 3rd Ave.

Once collected, the gifts will be wrapped and sent to the schools for distribution to students.

“I’m going to put together gift bags for the kids, along with anyone else who’s voiced interest in helping,” Thill said. “We’re going to put those together to make sure the kids have something that they can open on Christmas Day.”

She said there are currently enough gifts for 30-40 children, adding she wants to see that number increase.

“I’d like to be able to help as many kids as I can,” Thill said. “If I can help 40 people, that’s better than none.”

Those interested in the project can contact Thill at roadrunner27@hotmail.com for more information.

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com