Like many of the service clubs in the community - the Kiwanis, Jaycees, Rotary, and on and on - the spirit of giving really comes out during the holiday. These agencies perform acts of service year round - thus the title "service club" - but for the Dream Center, this is really its first opportunity to reach out during the Christmas season.
The Jaycees have the Tree of Joy each year, collecting toys for area children who might otherwise be forgotten this time of year.
The Kiwanis clubs reach out, with the help of Upper Des Moines, to make sure that children with needs receive some help with holiday clothing.
Proudly, the Daily Reporter working with Rotary, Upper Des Moines, the Spencer Fire Department and local UPS drivers, collect generous gift donations for area families through the holiday adoption program.
As a matter of fact, I'm sure both the Tree of Joy and Holiday Family Adoption effort could still use a little assistance as the collection and distribution period draws nearer for each.
There's a lot of reaching out going on. As a staff member at the Daily Reporter, and a Kiwanian - Hy-Noon Kiwanian of course, is there any other kind? - I consider myself blessed to be able to share in these acts of service.
As a new member of the advisory board at the Dream Center, I'm excited about what's going on at the former Hotel in downtown Spencer during the Grand Meander.
In addition to all the other activities associated with the downtown holiday celebration - the living windows, the TubaChristmas performances, the hot drinks and the smiling faces - something new is planned in conjunction with the event.
Through donations from the public and a little pocket change, the Dream Center will be handing out a large amount of toys to children accompanied by parents during the hours of the Grand Meander.
There are bikes, stuffed animals, gifts for her, gifts for him - basically something for toddlers and children to eight years of age. Of course supplies are limited, but hopes are for each child to receive something. Santa will of course be there to assist with the fun. The only request is that all children be accompanied by an adult.
If that's not enough, free coffee, delicious Starbuck's hot chocolate and popcorn will be made available.
While the Dream Center has been helping the needs of many with a wardrobe collection and food pantry, this will be the first time, the center will be able to focus on kids on such a large scale.
Folks are invited to take a tour of the first floor, which will serve as the home to a new coffee house in the future, and Grand Avenue restaurant, as well as sneak a peek at The Underground, which will be the first piece of the Dream Center to open. The Underground will offer a haven for teens to come, meet with friends, enjoy a variety of activities, and grab a snack in a safe environment.
I encourage all readers to stop by, bring your children, pick out a toy, and take a moment to ask about the Dream Center during the Grand Meander.