With help from the community, Sieda Wapello County Resource Center holds two Christmas Programs every year. The senior program Silver Bells. As well as the Wapello County Children’s Christmas with the Ottumwa Fire Department Sparky Claus, for the under 18.

In 2017, 30.1% of Wapello County lived below the 150% poverty level. Our programs, such as LIHEAP (heating assistance) and the Christmas programs, can help those at 175% and below. Of those living below the 150% level, nearly 38% are 0 to 18 years old, and over 15% are over 65 years old [1]. As a united community, we were able to help the young and seniors have something to look forward to during Christmas.

Silver Bells Program

First, the 2019 Silver Bells program had a total of 215 homes with 247 seniors. All homes received an orange bag of food and every person a blue bag of gift items, from Grace Church. Read more about this program; Sieda’s 2019 Silver Bells Program.

Wapello County Children’s Christmas Program

Second, the Children’s Christmas Program provided for 291 households with a total of 531 children. Nearly 180 Children were adopted by either the Pella Corporation, Sparky Claus Trees, or others in the area. If children were adopted, the family picked up their children’s gifts. 

However, for children not adopted, a family member comes to the Sieda Resource Center to select from toys, clothing, and items for their children. As well as stocking stuffer items. This year Yes Way provided a box full of candy donations for stocking stuffers. Sue from Yes Way said she used to be a Sieda Christmas Shopper, and she wanted to do something special for the program. All shopping day items are donations from the community, Sieda, and the Ottumwa Fire Department’s Sparky Claus

Also, at distribution, we had a bike drawing. Secret Santa(s) and John Deere donated a total of 16 bikes for all ages. Interested families entered their family into a drawing for a bike that fit the right age range for their child. Click to see more; Bike Drawing.

Furthermore, we’re grateful to Pizza Hut on 4th Street and Brian Long for donating lunch to Sieda and all our volunteers during the Christmas Distribution.

Thank you to everyone that makes this program a huge success. We appreciate the Ottumwa Fire Department’s Sparky Claus and many in the community donating and adopting. We could not reach as many alone. Your efforts helped make a very happy holiday for the low-income families in Wapello!

  • Ottumwa Fire Department’s Sparky Claus drop-off.
  • Shopping room at Sieda’s Wapello Co. Resource Center.
  • 9 Bikes and helmets were donated by John Deere Ottumwa [2].
  • The 7 larger bikes were from a mystery donation to Sparky Claus.
  • The white bags were gifts for 93 children that Pella Corp staff adopted.
  • Pizza Hut on 4th Street donated lunch to Sieda staff and volunteers.

[1] U.S. Census Bureau, 2013-2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates; Wapello County, Iowa; 2017     
American Community Survey Year: 2017 Estimates: 5-Year Table ID: S1701

[2] John Deere Ottumwa donated 9 bikes and helmets. High school students helped assemble them at a manufacturing event. Thank you.