Secret Santa program spreads holiday cheer around Sister Lakes and Dowagiac

NOW: Secret Santa program spreads holiday cheer around Sister Lakes and Dowagiac

CASS COUNTY, Mich. – A group in Dowagiac and the Sister Lakes area is giving back to those in need this holiday season by spreading Christmas cheer – and donated gifts – in places you wouldn’t normally expect.

The Sister Lakes Secret Santa Program was started about three years ago when Ronnie Kay’s family found they had extra gifts after celebrating Christmas.

And really – it’s kind of like an Easter egg hunt.

When it started, Kim Haneberg saw what Ronnie was doing and she thought it was so cool that she wanted in too.

“She has now been doing this herself for about three years. Very kind person would probably give you the shirt off her back,” said Haneberg. “I’m sure she saw the need was there and the community here is huge on helping supporting those who need a little bit of extra help.”

The gifts are hidden in places like the post office in Dowagiac, the football field entrance at Dowagiac Union, and the Beckwith Theatre.

“We have people who have donated gifts and monetary donations,” said Haneberg. “So those gifts are then put in a giftwrapping bag and then place in random places all throughout Dowagiac or Sister Lakes.”  

The gesture of kindness couldn’t come at a better time for some in the community. The program has even helped those who recently moved to the area with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

“We had a woman in town donate a television to somebody that truly had nothing, no television, no furniture,” said Haneberg. “We were kind enough to receive that from this woman who was so generous to donate it.”

This year alone, the Secret Santas were able to help more than 30 Michiana families, and there’s no plans of them stopping this tradition anytime soon.

If you want to donate to the Sister Lakes Secret Santa Program, just head to their Facebook page and send them a message.

Reporting by: Luke Schrock

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