Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Black Hills staff arrived on December 13 at their Rapid City offices and found windows broken, doors kicked in, items left in complete disarray and donated toys intended as Christmas presents stolen.

“For something to occur like this on any day is terrible – is a tragedy – but just before Christmas really puts a damper on things and makes it more difficult,” said Rapid City Police Department Captain Christian Sigel.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Black Hills’ mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships. So when the news broke, Coca-Cola Bottling Company High Country knew it had to give back to an organization that has given so much to their community.

The local bottler sprang into action and joined a community-wide effort to replace the stolen gifts.  One week after the incident, a fully-stocked Coca-Cola truck delivered brand-new toys for children of all ages along with cases of refreshing Coca-Cola products for the upcoming Christmas party.

The outpouring of community support allowed the organization to collect and distribute many times what was stolen to provide for children not just for this holiday season, but in the future. The donations also covered repairs to the facility and improved security to deter future break-ins. 

Audrey Nordine, associate director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Black Hills, said, “Our phone has literally been ringing off the hook … and really the community has wrapped around us. It’s been an outpouring of support for the past week.”

America’s beverage companies are proud supporters of their communities all year long, but there is unique joy in spreading holiday cheer – especially to those who need it most. It's a gift for us to make a difference and be a part of these meaningful and memorable moments.