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Mitchell native begins statewide Week of Giving initiative

Sarah Meusburger, a Mitchell native and now Brookings resident, poses for a photo with Gov. Dennis Daugaard on Monday in Pierre. Meusburger began the South Dakota Week of Giving initiative this week. (Submitted photo)1 / 3
Sarah Meusburger, a Mitchell native and now Brookings resident, stands with her son, Gabe, while volunteering during a community wide initiative in Brookings. (Submitted photo)2 / 3
Meusberger, Sarah 3 / 3

Instead of celebrating just Thanksgiving, one South Dakotan is challenging the state to recognize an entire week of giving.

Sarah Meusburger, a Mitchell native and now Brookings resident, kicked off a statewide giving initiative this week in hopes more South Dakotans will give to their local communities. And she did so with the help of Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

Earlier this month, Daugaard proclaimed Nov. 19-25 as South Dakota Week of Giving, encouraging citizens and businesses in the state to identify community needs and offer to help, donate or volunteer.

"I was thinking about how I wish I could give more," Meusburger said when she came up with the idea. "I think that's probably how a lot of people feel that way."

Meusburger is an human resources consultant with Alternative HRD in Sioux Falls and also serves as human resources manager for Banner Associates, Inc. in Brookings. But it was while she was making a basket of donations for her children's school, she came up with the initiative.

She first reached out to Brookings Mayor Keith Corbett about a community initiative. And with the city's support, it flourished. Meusburger said she asked herself, "Why stop there?" And so she didn't. She reached out to Daugaard, who then ordered the executive proclamation.

"I think it's a good opportunity to take a look at the nonprofit agencies in your respective communities. Reach out to them and say, 'There's this giving initiative, is there something that we can do as a family or as a business to kind off initiate a giving event,' " Meusburger said. "Because they're so busy, they just don't take time to stop what they're doing and reach out."

Meusburger said the community initiative in Brookings saw a lot of support from residents. For she and her 9-year-old son, Gabe, this meant donating every day of the week and volunteering at the Harvest Table in Brookings, which provides meals at no cost to those in need.

And Meusburger hopes other communities, such as her hometown of Mitchell, will do the same.

"Having grown up in Mitchell, I know how great of a community it already is, but this is an opportunity to make it even better with the support from residents and local businesses to lend a helping hand," Meusburger said. "Even small acts of giving can have a big impact."