Second Harvest North Central Food Bank’s “Itasca Holiday Program” Cancels Gift Portion of Event
Second Harvest North Central Food Bank officials announced that they will be canceling the gift giveaway portion of their upcoming 25th annual “Itasca Holiday Porgram” due to the ongoing need for feeding more families due to the pandemic.
The “Itasca Holiday Program” has traditionally provided individuals and families in Itasca County and Hill City with holiday food items and a grocery voucher. For those with children ages 1-12, they would receive a gift, provided by the community, from the Gingerbread Giving Tree and Toys for Tots. This year, Second Harvest will no longer run the Gingerbread Giving Tree portion of the program.
“It has been an agonizing decision to drop the gift portion of the program,” stated Susan Estee, Executive Director of Second Harvest North Central Food Bank. “We realize that families are going to need help this holiday season and we can do that through the Itasca Holiday Program by providing food and a grocery voucher for that special holiday meal but we no longer have the capacity to run the gift portion of the program.”
Second Harvest doesn’t believe the Gingerbread Giving Tree portion of the program has to go away. With assistance from their Development and Marketing Manager, Trisha Zimmerman, the program is willing to work with community members to transition the gift portion of the program into the hands of a new organization.
“The Gingerbread Tree portion of the program has been perfected for the last 25 year,” says Zimmerman. “It takes a lot of coordination and volunteers but all of the gifts are provided by community members through the Gingerbread Giving Trees and Toys for Tots. It has become a family tradition for many to pick a gingerbread boy or girl off of a tree and give a gift. I want to see this tradition continue and look forward to passing this portion of the program on.”