Delberta Peterson of Niobrara shares a special tradition with her family at Christmas time. Every year she places an envelope in her Christmas tree. This envelope holds a check to a charity organization of her choosing.
Peterson first started this donation tradition when her husband, Gail, passed away in 2005.
“I didn’t want the grandkids to forget about him,” she said.
Gail was very active in the community. He was on the school board, township board, church council, planning commission when the town moved and even a Justice of the Peace once.
“The kids always thought a lot of their grandpa,” Peterson added.
She believes donating to others is the best way to continue giving back to the community in his honor.
If she recalls correctly, Peterson got a letter from Lutheran Family Services asking for donations around Christmas time the year Gail passed. Like a sign from God or fate, she got the letter just as she was looking for a way to remember her late husband.
Most years the check is sent to Lutheran Family Services but this year she wrote it out to her own church in Niobrara to go towards world hunger.
The envelope tradition seems to be working as the grandkids don’t let Peterson forget about it.
“One year I sort of forgot and my grandson said ‘aren’t you going to put the envelope on the tree,’” she said laughing.
Every year after the Christmas meal and presents, Peterson takes a moment to grab the check and announce where the money is headed.
“The most fulfilling part is knowing everyone gets to remember Gail for at least one moment,” she said.