Seasons of Giving serves needy families

Gabe Davis

The Volunteer Center of Story County is giving members of the Ames and ISU communities a new way to serve needy families, disabled residents and the elderly during the coming holiday season.

Seasons of Giving-Winter, a nonprofit fund drive, served more than 1,090 Story County residents in need last year. Members of the volunteer organization said they hope to be more organized this year in order to effectively serve even more needy people.

“We take donations of clothes, toys, food, blankets, gift items and cash, of course,” said Kelly Wiech, volunteer coordinator for the Volunteer Center. “These items are used to help low-income families of Story County and elderly or disabled shut-ins.”

Staff and students from Iowa State have contributed greatly to the Seasons of Giving-Winter over the last few years, Wiech said.

“We get a lot of help from Iowa State,” she said. “Sometimes dorms will rally together and do a food drive to help us out, [and] different departments at Iowa State helped out incredibly, financially speaking, last year.”

Seasons of Giving-Winter needs volunteers to help sort, bag and distribute the drive’s gifts, and Wiech said anyone in Story County is welcome to be a part of the volunteer group.

“Many Story County residents give donations, and United Way gives a lot as well,” she said. “Churches also play a large role in finding people to help volunteer. St. Thomas Aquinas helps us a lot.”

John Donaghy, campus minister for St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 2210 Lincoln Way, said the program is beneficial for everyone involved.

“We encourage members of our parish to assist Story County volunteers because it’s a good way to provide an extra something for people during this Christmas season,” he said. “Besides toys for kids, they also provide blankets and clothes for families.”

One of the best features of the Seasons of Giving-Winter fund drive is that they allow families to select among the donated items, Donaghy said.

“The parents and families come to the center and choose the toys and things they want,” he said. “There’s a good element of choice involved.”