Penning starts Stuff A Stocking Fundraiser to help local hospitals

Thursday, November 24, 2022
Andrea’s family has helped with this Stuff A Stocking Fundraiser. Penning family pictured from left: Andrea, Talon, Anita, and Audra. (Photo contributed

A local youth is spending her time this holiday season spreading good cheer by taking donations to give gifts to those spending Christmas in the hospital this year.

Andrea Penning, daughter of Talon and Anita Penning, is a junior at MMCRU High School. This is the second year for her Stuff A Stocking Fundraiser.

Andrea described what this fundraiser is about, “This Stuff A Stocking Fundraiser will help patients in the hospital over Christmas. I want them to experience a little Christmas cheer since they will be in the hospital and away from their home and possibly loved ones during the holidays. I have contacted three local hospitals: Orange City Area Health System, Le Mars Floyd Valley Healthcare, and Cherokee Regional Medical Center, along with Avera Behavioral Hospital in Sioux Falls.”

At right, Andrea and Talon delivered stockings to a Sioux Falls hospital last year for the first annual fundraiser. (Photo contributed)

When asked what inspired her to come up with and take part in this fundraiser, Andrea stated, “As many of you know, my dad, Talon Penning, was diagnosed with Covid last September 2021. He was life flighted to Sioux Falls and spent five days in the ICU. With many prayers and the community supporting him, his health improved greatly. The doctors were amazed at how quickly he was improving. One doctor stated he is a Covid miracle. I knew through this experience that there are many families that spend Christmas in the hospital for various reasons. I knew I wanted to do something to spread joy to patients who will not be home for Christmas. My dad has been an EMT within the community and is currently the President of the organization. He gives back to the community in countless ways day and night and last year was his time of need where he needed extra care. The ambulance and medical team were there for him. I knew that I wanted to do something to get the community involved to give back to the ones that need a little holiday cheering up this year. What better way than to provide a Christmas stocking to someone in the hospital!”

The community can help Andrea with this fundraiser by donating items for the stocking, “Members of the community can purchase a stocking and fill it up with goodies for a woman, man, teen, or child.  If you wish to only donate items and not a stocking, I will have some stockings available to stuff as well. You could purchase a few items, and we will fill up a stocking to be delivered. If you wish to donate money, I would be happy to go shopping for you.”

Listed below are some Stocking Stuffer ideas from a poster about the fundraiser:

For her: scarf, new winter hat, crossword puzzle, tumbler, coffee mug, book, ornament, candle, fuzzy socks, candy, hairbrush, $10.00 gift card, lip balm, body wash, lotion, magnets.

For him: wallet, socks, $10.00 gift card, candy, crossword puzzle, toothbrush, gloves, nuts, playing cards, golf balls, batteries, gum, breath mints, hand sanitizer, money clip, shaving kit.

For teens: fuzzy socks, key chain, gloves, popcorn, candy, $10.00 gift card, hair ties, nail polish, comic books, body spray, lotion, crossword puzzle, gum, selfie stick, movie tickets, snacks.

For kids: playdough, gel pens, crayons, markers, stickers, candy, snacks, plush toys, glow sticks, puzzle, toy car, doll, coloring book, silly putty, mittens, new winter hat.

For this year’s fundraiser, Andrea is getting help from some local organizations, “My 4-H Club, the Union Livewires, along with the Union Vikings, and the Stockman 4-H Club out of Cherokee County, will be collaborating and partnering with me. Not only do I have support from three 4-H clubs from two counties, but I also have my church family (Meriden Evangelical Free Church), and the NHS (National Honor Society from MMCRU) that I am involved in.”

According to Andrea, for the donations, there are a few places to drop off items, “All donation items will need to be delivered to one of the 4-H leaders, my church (Meriden Evangelical Free Church), or you can drop items off at the MMCRU High School office, and I will pick them up from there. Otherwise, you can drop off items at my house. Contact me if you need your items picked up. If you have any questions, please reach out to me at 712-539-9638.”

Donations are welcomed now until Wednesday, December 14. The stockings will be delivered to all four hospitals on Saturday, December 17.

For parents Talon and Anita, they are proud of their daughter’s achievements with this fundraiser, “We are very proud and humbled by our daughter’s action to love on people well in their time of need. She has demonstrated several qualities of leadership skills through this project. Not only does she show leadership through this project, but we have also seen her mature over the years through the 4-H organization and other activities she is involved in.”