Children are giving, adults have their chances to donate to SAC

Children are giving, adults have   their chances to donate to SAC

Image Credit: Dave Mast

The children are doing their best to bless area families who are participating in the annual Holmes County Share-A-Christmas program, which is celebrating its 30th year this year. Adults now have their opportunity to pitch in as well.

Schools all around Holmes County are currently participating in a canned food drive to collect as many cans of food as possible for volunteers to send to families who will be recipients of Share-A-Christmas, and two SAC Christmas trees are currently erected that allow people to pull off a toy request from a child and purchase that toy.

The schools are busy making a mountain of canned goods. On Tuesday, Nov. 16, SAC chairman Bob Porter was joined by volunteers from the Holmes County Probate Court to pick up canned goods at Millersburg Elementary. What Porter saw when he entered the school floored him, with the hallway by the main office flooded with box upon box of food.

“I received a call just two days into the collection week (Nov. 15-22) and found out they had 1,100 cans,” Porter said. “I thought we may as well get them. Then I walked in here, and there were way more than that.”

The school had quickly collected more than 2,000 cans, filling up two large pickup trucks with cans that were then taken to Menuez Bros. Sand and Gravel, where they weighed in at 2,400 pounds of food.

The school was amid a contest, with the one bringing in the most cans winning a popcorn and movie afternoon. Third-grade teacher Ali Armstrong’s class had forged a big lead, and she said the event is exciting, not just because of the contest, but also because of the message it shares with the students.

“One thing we try to relay to the kids is that this is important because we get a chance to donate food to families in need,” Armstrong said. “We’ve had a lot of good conversations about that, and that is what motivates them more than anything. Being a part of our community is a big thing for us.”

At Chestnut Ridge School, the canned good drive was all about being good stewards. Not only did the entire school invest in a theme of “Bee Generous” during food drive week, but also they enjoyed theme days like Dress Like a Bee, Twin Day, Bee Cozy Day and Bee Country Day.

In addition, the school started a tradition several years ago where the staff encouraged kids to bring in money to donate to SAC.

School secretary Darlene Yoder created the Bee-based theme, and her husband Lister built an intriguing honeycomb that allowed students to place their donations in their class’ honeycomb receptacle.

“This is the place to ‘bee,’” Darlene Yoder said. “We get to ‘bee’ generous and help others. I printed out this design for the honeycomb and gave it to my husband, and he built this incredible donation collection honeycomb. The kids have really focused their attention on beating last year’s record donation.”

That number was $4,800, and Porter was moved to tears when he accepted that unexpected check last year. Yoder said the hope is they can top that donation this year.

“What these kids and our school staffs do each year in this drive is amazing and critical to the success of our efforts,” Porter said.

Porter will take the probate crew and other volunteers and make the rounds throughout the week, picking up food at schools and dropping the collection off at Harvest Ridge, where SAC delivery day takes place in the Baker Building.

While the kids do their thing, adults can take advantage of the two SAC Christmas trees placed at Jitters in Millersburg and in German Village in Berlin. The trees contain tags that have toy requests for every child involved in the program. Each child can make a request, and the idea is for adults or families to choose one or more of the gifts and purchase that gift and drop them off back under the trees, where SAC representatives will pick them up.

“That’s been another neat way for people to give to Share-A-Christmas,” Porter said.

The final way for the public to give is through the annual WKLM Share-A-Christmas on-air pledge drive. Beginning Friday, Nov. 26, people can call into WKLM to make a pledge, challenge others to meet their pledge and maybe get a chance to speak on-air. The drive is full of friendly competitions, special guest speakers and Christmas joy. Those wishing to make a pledge to Share-A-Christmas at WKLM may do so by stopping in and dropping off their donation at the radio station or by calling 330-674-1953, 330-893-3456 or 330-674-0095.

Porter said the community support for Share-A-Christmas continues to impress all the leaders and volunteers who make it happen. He said without the generosity of many, it would not happen.

“This continues to be an incredible community event that sees people give in so many unselfish ways,” Porter said. “We are so blessed to live in a community that cares so much about its neighbors.”

Should there be a family who would like to sign up to be a recipient in this year’s event, there is still time to do so. There is a Share-A-Christmas application form in this week’s Bargain Hunter on Page 32. Families simply need to fill out the form and return it promptly. Porter said there is still room to add more families who could use an extra blessing this Christmas season.