The Holiday Sharing Tree was founded in 1985 and is a non-profit, seasonal gift-giving project.
The Salvation Army and Nicollet County Social Services serve as clearing houses and determine the recipients. The Holiday Sharing Tree project is then given those names and Giving Cards are filled out with a recipient's first name and basic need item valued at approximately $20-$25. The Giving Cards are then distributed to seven designated Giving Card pick up locations and area businesses who sponsor Giving Cards. Shoppers pick up cards and shop for the need and return wrapped gifts by a deadline. Wrapped gifts are stored in a secure location where they are sorted. Gifts are then distributed to families and individuals on a one day distribution date prior to Christmas from the Mankato Armory and Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Peter.
The project kicks off mid-November and gifts are distributed approximately a week prior to Christmas. The project runs 33 days.
In 1985, 182 families were provided gifts. The number has escalated rapidly since then and currently approximately 900 families or 3,300 individuals are being helped. Since 1985 the Holiday Sharing Tree has provided over 63,000 gifts to individuals. For most, these are the only gifts they receive during the holiday season.
The Holiday Sharing Tree is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The project is funded by individual and corporate/organizational donations. Special fundraising/grant opportunities arise occasionally, but our primary source of funding is through public donations.
Many area businesses, volunteers, donors, and service organizations dedicate their efforts and resources for the project. A board of volunteer business professionals, along with a project manager coordinate the project.
Holiday Sharing Tree Board of Directors
Jo Guck Bailey – Sign Pro
Kim Bruender – Gene’s Repair of Eagle Lake
Elli Fisher – Retired, Center Point Energy
Jason Fisher - Mankato Clinic
Elyse Haugen - Bolton & Menk, Inc.
Katie Heintz- North Mankato Library
Christopher Kind – Bethany Lutheran College
Jodi Maas - Gustavus Adolphus College
Jamison Peterson - Bremer Bank
Christie Satre – Insight Cloud + Data Center Transformation
Danica Walser - Compeer Financial
Jennifer Weckwerth - Coloplast Manufacturing US
Brenda Wick - Rasmussen College
Denise Zernechel - Sign Pro
Leslie Nibbe-Johnson – Salvation Army
Jessica DuRose – Nicollet County Social Services
Liz Thiesse - Holiday Sharing Tree Project Manager