Caring for Sioux Falls

It started in 1991 with seven people who wanted to help those in need during the holiday season.

Today, Sioux Falls Cares helps brighten the holidays for hundreds of families each year.

TOP: Sioux Falls Cares volunteers help assemble care packages at the Sioux Falls Expo building. (Photo courtesy InRealty Group of BHGRE Beyond.) BOTTOM: The care packages include items donated by businesses and individuals. (Photos courtesy of Sioux Falls Cares.)

Sioux Falls Cares brings joy to more than 850 families each December thanks to a growing network of more than 1,500 volunteers, dozens of local businesses and sustainable support provided from its endowment held at the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation.

Tom Walsh Jr. helps lead the effort.

“Sioux Falls Cares is all volunteer-led. We meet three times a year and that’s it. No one takes any credit — it’s just volunteers and businesses donating their time, money and products to help care for kids and families in our community,” Walsh Jr. said. “And we’ve been so blessed by all those who have helped, and who continue to help, make this possible.”

Donations are collected throughout the year and, each fall, volunteers work with the Sioux Falls School District to select families to receive care packages.

Then, each December, Sioux Falls Cares fills the Expo Building at the Sioux Falls Fairgrounds. Volunteers assemble care packages and organize deliveries to homes throughout the city.

This year, Sioux Falls Cares deliveries will take place on December 7-8.

Care package recipients are certainly impacted, Walsh Jr. said, but so are the volunteers making the deliveries.

“You go to these homes and you see the reactions of the kids and the parents. The smiles. The tears of joy. Tears of thankfulness. Tears of excitement. It’s really impactful,” he said.

Sustainable Support

Several years ago, Sioux Falls Cares established an organizational endowment at the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation.

Organizational endowment funds are invested to provide long-term, stable sources of revenue for nonprofits, ensuring their continued sustainability. In addition to utilizing the Foundation’s expertise, organizational endowments also benefit from administrative support, allowing the nonprofit to focus on its mission and purpose — serving those in need throughout our community.

“We started the endowment as another avenue to help ensure Sioux Falls Cares continues on after we’re gone. Our goal is to grow the endowment so, even if the economy gets tough and people aren’t able to give as much, we’ll still be able to provide for these families by using the interest we gain off of the endowment,” Walsh Jr. said.

Mary Kolsrud is the Foundation’s vice president for philanthropy. She said Sioux Falls Cares embodies the true spirit of philanthropy.

“At its core, philanthropy is about people helping people, and there’s perhaps no better example of that than Sioux Falls Cares,” Kolsrud said. “It’s an honor to partner with this exceptional organization as they work to serve families in need during the holidays.”