Tuesday will be a special day for local organizers of the James River Royal Family KIDS Camp.
That’s when they hope South Dakota’s first-ever Day of Giving — on Giving Tuesday — which will help raise money to cover the cost of busing local foster children (ages 6-12) to the Royal Family Kids Camp next July.
“Our campaign is ‘Can you help us fill the bus’,” said Kathy Van Heukelom, local camp organizer. “We’re hoping to raise $2,000 to cover the transportation cost.”
She said they have received a $1,000 matching gift from Prairie Smiles Family Dentistry.
Last year they had 39 campers from Huron attend one of three camps held in South Dakota. These camps are designed to create positive, life-changing moments for children who have been victims of neglect, abuse and abandonment.
The total cost for providing a five-day camping experience for foster children is $25,000.
“It’s 100 percent fundraised,” Van Heukelom said. “There is no cost to the state of South Dakota or foster families.
“The transportation is just one small portion of the camp cost,” Van Heukelom added.
In South Dakota, there are approximately 468 children ages 6-12 in the foster care system. To serve each of them with a camping experience, the state would have to launch about 12 more camps.
One volunteer who has been working with the Royal Family Kids Camps said the experience changed her life.
“Through serving at RFKC, God called me to pursue social work as a career,” the volunteer said. “There are not words to express how passionate I am about the work this ministry does to give campers a week of abundant love, attention and encouragement.
“When I see the first glimpse of the bus coming down the road, it signifies the beginning of the best week of my entire summer,” she said. “Please prayerfully consider supporting this organization. There are so many people that come together to make camp happen and every single one is making a lifetime impact on the campers.”
Van Heukelom said they are also looking for individuals interested in becoming camp volunteers.
Make a donation by sending a check to Royal Family Kids Camp James River, 920 Lincoln Ave. S.W., Huron, S.D. 57350; or online at www.paypal.me/rfkcjamesriver.
South Dakota’s Giving Day begins at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, and continues until 11:59 p.m. that night.
Other groups in Huron that will take part in the statewide Giving Day are NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness), Plus One Guidance Center, which provides support to women and couples in pregnancy-related situations, and Head Start.
“It kind of follows that we have Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday,” Van Heukelom said, “A way for people to give back to their local communities.”