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Santa Claus Girls

5 Questions with Jennifer Ekberg, Vice President & Shopper, Santa Claus Girls

By Marla DeFoe

Jennifer Ekberg is a mortgage loan originator at Benchmark Mortgage, and has been involved with the Santa Claus Girls program since 2009. She has been a volunteer firearm safety instructor since 2011, volunteers as a foster parent for Circle of Friends and Journey Home Animal Rescue, and delivers Meals on Wheels in her free time. Jen is passionate about giving back to our community.

What is the mission of Santa Claus Girls?

The Santa Claus Girls organization has been serving the Grand Forks, ND and East Grand Forks, MN communities since 1916. Our mission is to provide toys, food, books, hats, gloves, and socks to children, aged 12 and under, from low-income families, during the holiday season.

Our volunteer board members include: Julie Ekberg, President; Jen Ekberg, Vice President & Shopper; Karen Bjornseth, Secretary; Allison Peterson, Creative & Marketing; Carol Schneweis, Treasurer; Theresa Polkinghorne, Board Member-at-Large.

Tell me about how Santa Claus Girls helps the community.

Each family who applies for our service and is approved receives, for each child in their family aged 12 and under, a gift bag containing an age-appropriate toy, one pair of socks, one pair of gloves, a hat, a toothbrush, toothpaste, candy, a reading book, and coloring book. Each family receives crayons, and a gift certificate for a large pizza from the local pizzeria, Deek’s Pizza. The parents/guardians also receive a roll of wrapping paper and tape.

How can someone in the community help your organization?

Donate or volunteer! The cost of providing this small package to each child amounts to over $45,000 per year. By donating $35.00 you will be sponsoring a bag for one child.

You can donate or sign up to volunteer on our website:

How many volunteers are needed to deliver Christmas gifts to all the participating children?

There will be over 150 volunteers that gather that week to help us!

What is your favorite part of being involved in Santa Claus Girls?

The Santa Claus Girls work out of a space at Hope Church. There is an overwhelming sense of joy seeing all of the completed gift bags ready to be delivered to local families. G

// To view the full story, check out the digital issue here

From Issue 4, 2022

PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY: Santa Claus Girls and Stock


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