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King's Daughters group helps brighten holidays for local families


Everett Johnson

Left, Sidney City street department workers help out the King's Daughters by delivering boxes of food for them to pass out. Right, Members of the King's Daughters prepare boxes to give to families in need.

Tis the season for giving and the Wide Awake Circle of the King's Daughters are fully ingratiated in the holiday spirit as they provided a multitude of Christmas dinners for families in need last Friday.

King's Daughters began to take up donations for this event in August. They used those funds to buy groceries from local stores. They fill boxes with all the ingredients to make a great holiday meal for a family such as a ham, eggs, cookies, fruits, vegetables, milk and bread. City street department workers deliver the food to the Shelter House at Legion Park while King's Daughters members set up the tables.

The local grocers are also helpful in this process, as they provide discounts to the King's Daughters when they go out and buy the supplies.

"We've been distributing the food over 100 years," said the president of King's Daughters, Kim Phillips. "This was originally started when they were back at Fort Sidney. Basically, in the old days it was distributed for people who were shut in for the holidays, or sick and we kind of expanded and brought other areas in along with the food."

Along with family dinners, King's Daughters provide bags with gloves and toothbrushes. The Wide Awake Circle of the King's Daughter's is one of Sidney's oldest charity organizations. The group provides various types of assistance for those in the area. The King's Daughters also can contribute to utilities or medical bills.

"We have about 125 food boxes in small medium and large sizes," said member Susan Narjes. "There's enough items in the boxes for a Christmas dinner. We also provide mittens and hats. We get a feel for how many children there are. Whether there's a boy or girl, we can choose the mittens accordingly as far as color and size."

For the most part, baskets are picked up by the families at Shelter House but the group will also drop off boxes as well.

"I think we're reaching out to people in the community that do not have the resources to purchase these items," Narjes said. "it provides them with A, a nice Christmas dinner and B, some items to wear during the cold winter months. We're reaching out to those in our community who are in need and taking care of those in our community."

The Wide Awake Circle of the King's Daughters in Sidney was founded in 1891 by military wives of Fort Sidney soldiers. The earliest written records date to 1906 when Tyrone Simon, wife of a physician in Sidney, took over the leadership from Mrs. Trueblood, the wife of an officer stationed at the fort.

Today, the King's Daughters bring happiness to the needy, the elderly, to shut-ins and to children just as they have in Sidney for over 100 years. There are 26 members this year.

Christmas is the Wide Awake Circle's busiest time of year. The group gives out treat sacks at Western Heritage, delivers poinsettias to people who've lost a loved one during the year and prepares cookie trays for anyone in need of a little cheering up.

"It's a win-win for the volunteers and recipients," Narjes said. "We are using our time, talents and resources to help somebody that needs our time, talent and resources."


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