Mitchell, SD — Ken Ellingwood from Mobile, Alabama, is teaching Abbott House youth important life lessons while also supporting Abbott House programs. Ellingwood gives $100 to every Abbott House child for Christmas with one stipulation – that every child give a portion of their Christmas gift to someone else in need.
Ellingwood was introduced to Abbott House through a friend more than 10 years ago while he was hunting in the area. He was impressed with the services the Abbott House provided and wanted to help out. When he suggested the concept of giving to the girls so they can give something back – passing on the gift of giving, everyone agreed it would be a great idea.
And so it began. Every year Ellingwood provides $100 for every child in Abbott House care. The Abbott House children are notified of this Christmas gift and provided with a list of local and regional charities that need support this time of year.
“This is one of the many heartwarming and humbling activities we do during the Christmas season,” Eric Klooz, executive director of the Abbott House said. “Every year we will have three or four children who arrived at the Abbott House with only the clothing on their backs who give their entire $100 gift to a food pantry or a women’s shelter that helped them and their family out in the past.”
This year Abbott House children selected three causes that would benefit from their generosity — CORNERSTONE RESCUE MISSION ($1,295) in Rapid City, SD, Heifer International ($835) and Seeds of Change ($1,206), based in South Dakota, but serving people throughout the world.
The CORNERSTONE RESCUE MISSION serves the physical and spiritual needs of more than 500 homeless people every day in the Rapid City area. More than 40% of all the children at the Abbott House come from western South Dakota, Eric Klooz, Abbott House executive director, said. Some of the children have used the services of the CORNERSTONE RESCUE MISSION in the past.
Seeds of Change is a non-profit organization that supports several international missions. One of these is called Mission Hope – a program created to nourish the souls, minds and bodies of some of Kenya’s brightest, but most vulnerable students by supporting their educational needs in a safe environment. Seeds of Change started through the passion of the Jeff and Tammie Broin family – Jeff Broin is the founder and CEO of POET — and the non-profit organization was a natural extension of a company that already cares about the environment and improving livelihoods. The $1,206 gift the Abbott House girls provided will support quality education to vulnerable Kenyan girls. The Abbott House children’s gift will give two girls education, clothing, food and shelter for a full year!
The Abbott House children’s donation to Heifer International provided a llama, a pig, a sheep, three trios of rabbits, 4 bunches of bees, two flocks of chickens and two groups each of ducks and geese as well as a share of a water buffalo to people in need. Heifer International is a charity organization working to end hunger and poverty around the world by providing livestock and training to struggling communities. Heifer International gives families various animals to raise and the training they need to care for that animal. Then the family will extend the impact of the original gift by passing on the first female offspring of their livestock to another family.
“Thanks to Ken, Abbott House children are able to brighten their own Christmas and share their blessings with others,” Klooz said. “Children helping children, what could be better than that at Christmas time.”