Girl, 11, and Family Donate to SPPD for Christmas
By Brandi Makuski
One Rosholt family has started to change their definition of Christmas.
Joel and Jodie Wegner have seven children living under their roof, ranging in age from three to 15. It typically means making a buck stretch as far as possible — but it also means Christmas has a larger meaning than the number of presents under the tree.
“We really wanted to show the kids how important giving can be,” said Joel Wenger.
This year, he said, each member of the family chose a charity or local organization they wanted to benefit. Then, the family played a series of “Minute to Win It” games — and the winner was young Elizabeth Wenger, 11, whose choice was the Stevens Point Police Department’s Auxiliary Unit.
Elizabeth Wenger said there was no specific reason she picked SPPD other than, “They help protect us from bad guys in the neighborhood.”
The family met with Sgt. Mike Rottier, who oversees the department’s all-volunteer Auxiliary, to hand over a $100 check on Dec. 21, along with a box filled with Christmas cookies, trail mix and other snacks for officers.
“This is a great tradition to have,” Rottier told the family; then, peering into the box of goodies, added, “This won’t last long in our department.”
Rottier said the Auxiliary unit operates largely on donated funds, and has completed almost 700 works of volunteer work so far.
“You know, when the kids open presents it’s always ‘open them up, throw them to the side; open up the next one, throw it to the side’,” said Jodie Wenger. “We really want the kids to experience what it’s like to give; to actually go somewhere and see that effect on people’s lives, even if it’s a small amount.”
The family also visited a retirement community near their home last week, Joel Wenger said, to sing Christmas carols.
“Some of those families don’t get much for Christmas,” he said. “We really wanted to show the kids how important giving can be and change up our Christmas this year. So the donation — instead of mailing something, we thought if we come down here, they’d get even more exposure to it.”