As the holiday season kicks into full swing, Santa’s Helpers are pushing full speed ahead in Lusk as they prepare for their big event on Monday, December 17 at the Fairgrounds. “Our Santa’s Helpers Dinner is an event that we put on for those in need. [It] does not matter if you are rich or poor as long as you are in need, we will help. Some just don’t have money at Christmas time and need a little help so that is what we do. Some have medical bills that prevent them from buying gifts so we can help them” Patti Sigvartsen, a Santa’s Helpers member, explains of what the big event is. With preparation underway for the 17th, there are still a couple of supporting events that will take place before the main event. These events include Christmas Wrapping and of course, set up and preparation on the big day.
“The Up and Coming 4H Club is wrapping all the gifts that we have so far for their community involvement in Lusk at the Fairgrounds. We love community involvement! It takes some stress off of us”, states Sigvartsen. Much of the gifts have been donated throughout the year and donations are still welcome, “They can bring to the DFS office 905 S. Main St bldging # 2 before if they choose” or, at the Fairgrounds. No donation is too small, “We usually have new and used coats, used toys and clothing that they can go through”.
“We will be setting up at 9:00 AM the morning of the 17th for our annual Christmas Dinner with Santa Claus. We can always use help on this day setting up and we will have our Women’s Center gals coming to help us and they love this event” states Sigvartsen, further explaining the day’s agenda, “Throughout the day we set up food boxes and gift bags for families to take home for Christmas Day. We prepare the meal for the evening and we make sure we have enough gifts for everyone on the list, so we may have to wrap extra gifts. A lot of our decorating is done with the help of the gals from the Women’s Center and this helps us tremendously”. With extra hands a true blessing, anyone that would like to come to help can either simply show up or call Sigvartsen beforehand at 307-340-0859 to see what they can do.
After all the planning, pre-events, and setup, comes Monday, December 17, the big event. “Doors will open at 5:30PM and Dinner starts at 6:00PM. Families usually come early to go through all the items we collect all year long to take home. The dinner starts at 6:00PM and following that, the children are called up to see Santa Claus. They go in a line and can pick out a book, hat and gloves, a bag of candy and see Santa for their big present from Santa” explains Sigvartsen. In the rush of it all, Sigvartsen says her favorite part is, “the smiles that all these little children make and how happy they are when they leave Santa’s lap. Christmas is the time for giving and when I can see that it makes a difference in families that makes it all worth it”. A truly giving event, Sigvartsen can’t stress enough that, “Anyone can participate in Santa’s Helpers we do not judge nor do we care what the situation is if you need a little lift than we are there for you.” Those wishing to participate will need to sign up by the 13th at either the Chamber Office or the DFS office where Sigvartsen says they can answer any further questions and have a count for how much food and presents they will need. With Christmas coming in all shapes and sizes, Sigvartsen states a true present from the event is, “The fact that this community comes together in the time of need! Also that their [participants] Christmas will be brighter than expected and my hope is that they are happier. Our goal is to keep families together in any way that we can so making them happy is a plus”.
Sigvartsen will be stepping down from Santa’s Helpers this year after 24 years of bringing smiles and the spirit of Christmas to local families. Her dedication and devotion will be greatly missed.