After a lack of volunteers and board members in 2018 caused the Lakeland Sharing Foundation to skip a year of service, it was back in a very big way in 2019. With an entirely new board and a brand new format, the Lakeland Sharing Foundation (LSF) once again continued its yearly tradition of providing gifts to many local families in the LUHS school district. The program dates all the way back to 2001.
Starting back just a few months ago in August, former LSF board members held a meeting to attempt to recruit new board members so the program could continue. In September, an election meeting was held, and 7 new board members were elected. In the past few months, hours and hours of volunteer work has gone into re-formatting the program to allow it to be successful with fewer volunteers.
The new board consists of President Jason Hesch, Vice President Mindy Anderson, Treasurer Cathy Gelinas, Secretary Becky Doman, and board members Andrea Reuland and Erika Petersen. All board member time is 100% volunteer.
The program was greenlit for 2019 in late September, and invitations were distributed through the schools. This year, families were asked to pick a selection of toys from a list that was mailed to them, and mail it back to the LSF. These lists were compiled, and gifts were purchased and pre-packaged ahead of the distribution.
This year the distribution occurred at the Slumberland Furniture store in Minocqua. Parents entered through a side door to the warehouse and picked up their packages. In previous years families had to wait up to 2 hours in line to go through a mock store and pick their gifts off the shelves. With the new format this year, most parents were in and out in about 5 minutes.
The gift distribution occurred on December 5th, 6th, and 7th this year. 289 invitations were returned to the LSF with gift selections. That equates to roughly 700 children, and over 2,000 gifts that were provided by the LSF.
The LSF also provided hats and gloves to each child. Each family was also able to pick a donated toy item, generously provided by the community. Finally, each family was able to stop at the Lakeland Food Pantry booth on-site and receive a Trig’s gift certificate. The most popular items this year were headphones, Hot-Wheels cars, movie passes and bowling passes.
The LSF would like to give a huge thank-you to all of the volunteers, without whom the program would not have been possible this year. It is truly amazing to see how the community can gather together to provide a much-needed service, and to see how far that impact spreads.
The LSF is 100% funded by donation, with about 95% of donated funds going directly to the two programs it offers; the Christmas toy distribution, and providing schools with backpacks and school supplies at the beginning of the school year. The other 5% is used for office supplies and postage. If you would like to help, monetary donations are accepted year-round and can be mailed to the Lakeland Sharing Foundation at PO Box 1536, Woodruff, WI 54568.
Toy donation accommodations can be made year-round by emailing us, or to a select few locations around town that will have LSF drop boxes out through the end of the year. These locations include Slumberland Furniture, the Minocqua Chamber of Commerce, MHLT and AVW schools, Northwood’s Harley-Davidson, Eye Care Associates, Incredible Bank, and Peoples State Bank. If you have any questions please email the LSF at firstname.lastname@example.org , or visit www.lakelandsharing.org. Follow the LSF on Facebook @lakelandsharingfoundation.