As one of only four active Salvation Army Corps in South Dakota, the Huron Salvation Army is gearing up for its 75th annual Christmas Basket Program.
“This program helps us to literally ‘do the most good,’ which is our motto,” said Lt. Shannon Bluer, who serves the local Salvation Army with her husband, Justin.
“My husband, myself and staff all find ourselves saying all throughout the year that our Corps community center has been giving the most food,” she said.
Bluer said it seems that as fast as they place one order for food they find themselves needing to place another one to meet the needs.
“These multiple partnerships help us to fill our food boxes,” Bluer said. “Need knows NO season and people appreciate having food. We’ve noticed that the need is on the rise as the housing market, gas, and cost of living is high. We’ve seen more homeless situations and our pantry is going a lot faster.”
The Christmas Basket Program had humble beginnings when it was launched in 1948.
“In all honesty, it truly began with a bag of potatoes,” Bluer said. “There was a plea for donors who were able to help through donating a bag of potatoes.”
Today, dozens of food boxes containing everything needed for Christmas dinner and beyond are distributed through People’s Transit.
“Many local volunteers bring the food box and toys, if they have children, so the clients can quickly pass through,” Bluer said. “We get the opportunity to pray with them, at their request.
“This is only my second Christmas stationed here, but I clearly recall the generous support from our community in the form of checks,” she added. “Just add the simple process of writing Christmas Basket in the memo line. “
The checks come in through the whole Christmas season, either through mail or personally dropped off.
“We couldn’t do what we do without the generous support of our donors,” Bluer said. “To date it has truly brought in a million dollars since the one bag of potatoes. God, through His provision and the Holy Spirit, is how we honestly prefer to be led, and the Salvation Army as a whole.
“To be willing is all that is required one our part,” she added. “He gets all the praise, honor and glory in the beginning, middle and end.
“We give credit where credit is due,” Bluer said. “God’s economy is very much in a better state than our current one. As we provide a simple food box, those in need are reminded where our hope lies. It’s truly a huge blessing, honor and privilege to provide hope for those who feel hopeless at a crisis point even.”
One of their greatest missions is to help combat hunger as the price of groceries rises.
“It’s a great thing to witness first hand, to watch clients needs be meet and their frowns and tears of distress be turned to joy,” Bluer said. “We try to provide a holistic approach as they simply express the need and we meet it through the generosity and support of our donors.”
2023 Salvation Army Christmas Basket Program
6:30 p.m. nightly, Huron High School Auditorium
Program will also be aired on Huron Tiger Network (Midco Channel 6) and KIJV 1340 AM and 95.3 FM
Monday, Nov. 27:
Huron High School Concert Choir, Huron High School Madrigals, Huron High School Concert Band, Huron High School Symphonic Band and Huron High School Jazz Band
Tuesday, Nov. 28
Huron Schools Faculty Chorus, James Valley Christian Choir, James Valley Christian Band, Huron City Band and Fair City Brass Band
Wednesday, Nov. 29
Holy Trinity Choir of Angels, Riverview Methodist Church Choir, Huron Faith Alive Church Choir, Huron Faith Alive Praise Team, Bethesda Praise Team and Salvation Army Corp Band
Thursday, Nov. 30
Mail pledges to Salvation Army Christmas Basket, P.O. Box 1362, Huron, S.D. 57350
Another major source of support for the Salvation Army’s ministry are the bell ringers that volunteer at many local businesses through the Christmas season.
Anyone interested in helping ring the bells are asked to sign up at registertoring.com.
“We are giving Jesus his season,” Bluer said. “His economy is the one we trust and He is our hope. We attempt to remind others where our hopes lay and come from, and draw strength from Him as we do every day that ends in the letter ‘Y.’
“We are a seven-day-a-week church, and to be ordained as a community pastor here has truly been my privilege,” she added. “To serve others for God, who truly brought us here in the first place.”