FARGO — While their black pickup doesn’t exactly look like a sleigh, Don and Gloria Doescher are definitely filling Santa’s shoes this holiday season.
As part of The Great North Pole, a Fargo-based nonprofit, the Doeschers are delivering boxes of gifts to the Lamar and Misty Heiderscheid family of Fargo. It’s like Christmas morning on steroids as the family, including 9-year-old daughter Raina and 8-year-old daughter Autumn, open box after box of food, clothing and more.
“Have you made it to the bottom? We need to keep digging ladies!” says Gloria as the girls eagerly open the boxes.
So far, Raina’s favorite is a blanket.
“I like how fuzzy it is. It’s so soft,” says the fourth-grader.
Third-grader Autumn is having a harder time narrowing down her favorite gift.
“I like all this stuff,” Autumn says with a shy smile.
“I think it’s amazing! I didn’t expect all of this at all,” Misty says. “I thought it would be some little boxes. It feels like Christmas right now.”
Their early Christmas started more than a week ago at the Bergseth Bros. Co. warehouse in north Fargo as about 1,000 volunteers, including the Doeschers, shopped for things like clothing, food and household goods for families who expressed a need. Approximately 600 families in the metro area, including the Heiderscheids, will receive the new items donated from companies and vendors.
Great North Pole co-founder Nick Killoran says the nonprofit wants to concentrate on things the receiving families will definitely use.
"By doing that, we’re trying to supplement some of their expenses by putting goods in their hands," he says. "Then they can use that money that they would have spent on shampoo, toothpaste, stuff like that to pay the heating bill, rent or maybe that gift their child has asked for for the past three years."
It’s coming at a great time for Misty, husband Lamar and their five children with Christmas and upcoming birthdays in January. Misty says despite both of them working, the kids are usually lucky to get toys worth $3 or $4.
“It’s always really a tough time of year for us,” Misty says. “So whatever we can do to help that out a little, we do, because the money is never there when you expect it to be.”
The excitement builds as Raina and Autumn keep uncovering treasures with help from Gloria.
“This one is Magnolia Peach. You’ll smell like summer,” says Gloria, with as much excitement as the girls.
In the meantime, Lamar takes a full box of canned goods to the kitchen while Misty opens what could become Autumn’s favorite gift.
“It’s a soccer ball!” says Misty. “She loves soccer. She wants to play soccer. But I can’t afford a lot of the sports and activities that I really wish I could do for them, so to have a little extra this Christmas and to make it special for them means a lot, right?”
To find out more about The Great North Pole, visit www.thegreatnorthpole.org.
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