Fundraisers and free food: Donations welcome for Red Kettle drive, Christmas dinner

Community organizations such as the Salvation Army, the Masonic Hall and the Corn Palace Shrine Club won't be getting coal in their stockings this year.

Verla Vlieger sits at the enterance of County Fair jingling bells collecting donations for the Salvation Army on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — The most magical time of the year in the city of Mitchell is, arguably, the holiday season: a time when strangers become friends, friends become family, the gift-giving spirit is everywhere and dreams are being made into reality.

The Salvation Army of Mitchell, who plays a pivotal role making that happen during each holiday season, will continue to make dreams come true this Christmas with the help of multiple fundraisers, such as the annual Red Kettle bell-ringing fundraiser.

"We started the weekend before Thanksgiving and as of last night, we're sitting at $42,000 for the Red Kettle drive," Bill Middendorp, who serves as a captain for the Salvation Army, said. "Our total goal is $70,000, so we're getting there."

Middendorp admitted that it's been a hard year getting bell-ringers to volunteer for the Red Kettle drive.

"There hasn't been enough of them," he said with a laugh.


But that hasn't stopped the non-profit from coming up with some serious amounts of dough to help those struggling in the community this winter.

Middendorp explained that the Salvation Army is running what he described as an overall-Christmas fundraiser, of which the proceeds go to services like the Compassion Kitchen, a hot-food program with meals served throughout the week. According to Middendorp, the Compassion Kitchen has served over 10,000 free, hot meals to those in need.

Money raised will also go toward the Salvation Army's emergency disaster relief funds, as well as toward funding the food pantry, rental, utility and transportation assistance funds, and the annual Angel Tree.

"We had our Angel Tree distribution last weekend, where we had 200-some kids come in for presents," Middendorp said. "Families were also able to come in for food boxes, which is another part of the Angel Tree program."

Those interested in becoming a Salvation Army bell ringer or otherwise volunteering can reach out to (605) 996-2558, or stop by 724 N. Sanborn Blvd. in Mitchell.

Masonic Hall to host Christmas dinner

Speaking of making Christmas miracles happen, the Mitchell Masonic Hall and the Corn Palace Shrine Club have teamed up to support lonely community members by hosting a free, traditional Christmas dinner on Sunday, Dec. 25.

The event will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 120 E. Fifth Ave. in Mitchell.

The organizations attribute the reason to hosting the dinner to the sentiment that "no person should eat dinner on Christmas alone."


The (free!) dinner will consist of turkey and ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, apple cider, coffee and desserts. Donations will also be much appreciated and accepted.

The Masonic Hall is also offering free delivery to those who are stuck at home, and just ask that those interested in a delivery call the Masonic Center after 9 a.m. on Christmas Day.

For more information, contact the Masonic Hall at 605-996-4724.

Cassie Williams joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2022. To get in contact with Cassie about potential stories, feel free to email her at
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