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A Note to the Community

By Danna Downing, SCCS Director

Dr. Lloyd Appell shows his Christmas tree model cut-out that will hang on the side of the Vicksburg Community Center. Marian Steffens chairs this effort to raise funds for the South County Community Services agency. Patrons may purchase any one of the decorations to grace the tree for their loved ones or, in memory of someone who has passed away.

“Christmas is love in action,” according to Dale Evans, a popular childhood heroine for those of a certain age.  Dale Evans was the cowgirl who rode and kept up with Roy Rogers and Trigger in the 1950s.  At South County Community Services  (SCCS) we would like to see Christmas all year ‘round and we often do, thanks to so many generous souls who gift us during the holiday season and beyond.  Without your help and dedication the holidays could be pretty grim for many of our friends and neighbors.

We are thankful for the opportunity to “chat” with you in our wonderful new publication, South County News.  Our goal this year is to engage and connect with our entire community.  We want to provide each donor and each recipient with the perfect opportunity to experience first-hand the love in action that makes the holidays good for all.

SCCS is taking a team approach in order to maximize our reach and effectiveness.  Please take a moment to study the menu provided here and think about where you and your family might fit into the picture.   Your participation and support are greatly appreciated.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season on behalf of the board of directors and our holiday teams.

Cookie Walk & Tree Lighting

Mark the evening of December 6 on your calendar and plan to join us the first annual Cookie Walk and Tree Lighting.  The community-wide celebration is sponsored by the Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce and SCCS.  It runs from 6-9 p.m. in downtown Vicksburg.   Shoppers with Cookie Walk bags will be able to visit participating merchants with holiday goodies.  At each stop a special game card will be stamped and each card may be turned in for a small prize.  Shoppers who complete their entire game card will be eligible for a grand prize drawing following the tree lighting which takes place at Oswalt Park at 7 p.m.  Cookie Walk bags are available from merchants and at SCCS starting November 4 for $5.  They will also be available the evening of December 6, but the price will go up to $7 at the event.  Hot beverages will be available free of charge at the SCCS Open House, at Rise & Dine and McCallum Accounting.   All proceeds from the event go to SCCS emergency assistance programs.   Talk to your favorite downtown business owner or call 649-2901 for more information.

TREE OF LIFE for the Holidays

With your donation to the TREE OF LIFE you will be able to honor loved ones and make a contribution to those in our community who may need help during the holiday season.  Santa’s elves have been busy since September creating the trees and ornaments that will be attached to the outside of Vicksburg Community Center where SCCS offices are located.  Your donation will place a hand-crafted wooden ornament inscribed with your special dedication on display.  There are a variety of ornaments and prices from which to choose, including ornaments to honor pets.  There were free decorating workshops on November 1 and 2 for persons who painted and decorated their own ornaments.   Ruthie’s Paint and Yarn Shop staff and other elves were on hand to assist artists.   Order forms for ornament donations are available at SCCS week-days from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  SCCS is open until 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays as well for your shopping pleasure.  Call 649-2901 to have an order form mailed to you.


When resources are limited, the holidays pose special challenges for the families we serve.  The need for emergency assistance increases with winter utility bills and food for creating a holiday feast can be limited as well.  Donations of cash, personal items and household supplies are needed to provide holiday baskets to approximately 250 families.  Team #1 Leader is Mandy Cox, SCCS Emergency Assistance Coordinator.  Contact Mandy at or by calling 269-649-2901.


Madison Branch is the Team Leader for this group.  She is serving as the liaison between donors and recipients.  Families and groups may adopt a family as has been done traditionally or they may also sponsor a family to attend a special shopping event co-sponsored by SCCS and the Shaver Road Meijer Store in Portage.   Cost of either option is $30/gift/person.  Typically we serve about 150 families or almost 600 individuals.  Contact Madison at or by calling 269-649-2901.


Persons who would like to help with the many aspects of community-wide celebration should call 269-649-2901 and leave a message for Marian Steffens with your contact information.  She needs cookie bakers, painters, decorators and volunteers to assist with children’s parties and other events, and will be in touch with you per your request.

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