CONRAD - One family got to thinking buying Christmas presents for each other every year just didn't make much difference.
"We didn't need it," said Jan Beeghly of Conrad.
Jan, and her brothers and sisters of the Harms family, decided in 2005 that instead of buying presents for one another they would collect money in a canister and find someone in need of a holiday boost to give the money to. It has become an annual tradition.
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Jan and Roger Beeghly of Conrad are pictured with the canister where money is collected. Jan’s siblings and their families collect money instead of buying presents for each other, then give the money to a family struggling.
The first year $480 was collected, and through the years they have donated money to people with health problems, those who were in accidents or suffering in some way.
"It's a blessing that we can do it," Beeghly said. "It's very heart warming."
This year, the family collected $1,082 and delivered it to a family going through health problems.
Each year a can is put on the Thanksgiving table to start the collection, and then the host of the Christmas dinner is in charge of selecting the family in need which will receive the funds that season.
"We all look forward to finding out who we helped and emotions flow when we tell who it is at our Christmas party," said Karen Sienknecht, Jan's sister, who lives near Lincoln. "Our hope is to make a difference by helping people who are experiencing tough times in their life."
The presenters of the money will visit the home of those selected, deliver a card with the money inside and leave. They don't stick around to see the reaction of those who receive the money, but often get very nice cards of thanks. One family who were the recipients of the donation one year has now started something similar with their relatives.
"Our hearts are filled with thankfulness and joy that we are able to help another family in a small way," Sienknecht said.
Aside from Jan and her husband Roger and Karen and her husband Doug, other relatives involved include the family of Ken and Sandi Harms of Wellsburg, Sandy Harms in Grundy Center, Vern and Audrey Harms of Conrad, Donna and Russ Lage of Holland and David and Kim Harms of Marshalltown. Approximately 40 family members take part in the donation, and it appears this idea will continue into the future.
"We have involved our children and grandchildren, and they have gotten the feeling of what it's like to give," Sienknecht said. "I think it will carry on."