Porter encourages the east to pick up the SAC torch

Porter encourages the east to pick up the SAC torch

Image Credit: Dave Mast

To say Bob Porter has given a few talks throughout Holmes County about the role and importance of Holmes County Share-A-Christmas is like saying Billy Graham gave a few sermons during his lifetime.

Porter, who has served as chairman of SAC for three decades and has been a vocal and active leader in the county in presenting it to the community, was at it again recently, meeting with the Berlin Main Street Merchants on Tuesday, Nov. 15 to encourage them to enhance the participation in the eastern half of Holmes County.

“There is no way we could operate Share-A-Christmas without the support of the eastern part of the county,” Porter said. “Poverty is something you don’t often see in the eastern part of Holmes County, but it exists.”

He said among the 161 current families involved in Share-A-Christmas, more than half of them are single-parent families, most of those consisting of the mother with multiple children.

He said the hidden needs in Holmes County are heartbreaking, noting for many of the children, the only good meal of the day they receive is from school lunches.

“One of the big goals of Share-A-Christmas is making sure there is good food to eat while these children are home for the holidays over Christmas break,” Porter said.

With distribution day slated for Dec. 10 at the Baker Building at Harvest Ridge in Millersburg, Porter said SAC currently has 161 families signed up to receive gifts and food.

Porter said the schools throughout Holmes County have kicked off their canned food drives. He said last year SAC received more than 15,700 pounds of canned and boxed food from the schools, which play a critical role in the SAC process.

“Your schools in the east have been incredibly giving, and the giving at the schools through the food program is critical,” Porter said. “I’ve been overwhelmed and humbled every time we pick up the food at each school. What a great way to teach our young people about the act of sharing and being kind to others.”

Porter went on to talk about the giving trees located at Jitter’s Coffee House in Millersburg and German Village IGA in Berlin. He said those trees are decorated with ornaments that list each child involved in SAC, listing their age and their wish-list toy item.

Anyone who wants to be a blessing to a child may select an ornament or multiple ornaments, purchase a gift, wrap it, and bring it back to the tree locations where they will be picked up.

Porter said each child receives a $50 voucher for clothing, and children receive other assorted gifts purchased by SAC that accompany the main toys purchased by those who select a child from the giving trees.

He also invited anyone interested in volunteering to serve on distribution day on Dec. 10 at the Baker Building and Holmes Fire District 1 to come with a large vehicle and be ready to load up and experience the blessing of delivering packages around the county.

“If you want to experience what is going on and see how incredible this organization is, come and volunteer and bring your kids so they can see it,” Porter said.

He also talked about the 42 churches that are involved with SAC, noting each church collects different items, from soap and laundry detergent to toilet paper and various nonperishable food items.

In addition, donations of perishable fresh food like turkey and ham, eggs, bread, cheese, fruit and more are donated or purchased, giving families plenty to eat over the holiday season.

“This is an undertaking that needs everyone throughout the county to participate in,” Porter said. “Share-A-Christmas is important because our kids are important. We do this for them.”

The other way people can give is to participate in the annual WKLM radio-a-thon that begins the day after Thanksgiving, where people can call in pledges; challenge other people, families, businesses and organizations to match or exceed their donation; and support not just the families involved in the program, but also more than 100 area senior citizens and veterans in Holmes County.

Any families who would like to be a recipient of Share-A-Christmas’ outreach can find an application at the Holmes County District Public Library or at Holmes County Job & Family Services.