By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The new owners of Club 40 are starting a new tradition: a giving tree.
“It was one of our patron’s ideas, Graham Schindler. He said we should put up a tree in here, and he and I got to talking about donating gifts. I called Shepherd of the Hill in Elk Mound,” said Trisha Holmberg, one of the new co-owners of Club 40 east of Colfax.
Lorie and Joel Hilson of Colfax also are new owners of the establishment.
Every year, the school district in Elk Mound has forms that needy families can fill out, and it is set up in the basement of Shepherd of the Hill to shop for those families, Holmberg said.
“We don’t know who the families are, but they gave us ages, and I went from there. Bar patrons just started giving me money to go shopping. A few have brought gifts to put under the tree, but a lot of them donated money,” she said.
The gifts will benefit local families between Colfax and Elk Mound, Holmberg noted.
“Hats and mittens, socks, scarves, a few baby toys are decorating the tree. I don’t think any child should be cold,” Holmberg said.
Holmberg will be delivering the gifts to Shepherd of the Hill on December 19, and the gifts will then be distributed to the families.
“We don’t know the families, and the families don’t know us. It’s just a way to give back to the community,” she said.
“It’s been a good turnout so far. We’ve had a good response,” Holmberg said.
Among the items Holmberg has purchased are two children’s bicycles, one for a girl and one for a boy.
“Word traveled fast. People have been more than generous. I have saved all the receipts so people can know where their money has gone,” she said.
Next year, Holmberg said she plans to put tags on the tree with the ages of the children so people will know who to shop for.
“I thought it was a good idea to decorate the tree with hats and mittens and scarves instead of ornaments,” Holmberg said.
“Christmas is about giving, and what better way to give than to people who could use some help. I’ve been there,” she said.
“My kids have come home and said, ‘so and so doesn’t have a hat or mittens,’ so we are going to give some of the hats and mittens to the school. The toys mainly will go to the church in Elk Mound,” Holmberg said.
“Lord only knows I love to shop! … But the kids are going to be happy,” she said.
Holmberg said she also wants this to be a learning experience for her own children.
“I want them to understand there are families who cannot afford to buy Christmas gifts for their kids … they are going with me when we donate the toys. I think all kids should learn that lesson: there are always people less fortunate,” she said.
Anyone who is interested in donating items for the giving tree is urged to bring them out to Club 40 by December 19.