Share-A-Christmas’ well-oiled machine comes through again

Share-A-Christmas’ well-oiled machine comes through again

Image Credit: Dave Mast

The Baker Building at Harvest Ridge has hosted many various meetings and events in the past years, but on Saturday, Dec. 10, it hosted the event for which it had been built.

The annual Holmes County Share-A-Christmas delivery day saw dozens of volunteers and delivery drivers inundating the building to stockpile mounds of toys and other gifts into vehicles, which were in turn delivered to homes all over Holmes County.

For three decades SAC has been making Christmas a bit more merry and prosperous for families who sign up to participate, and the organization has been especially kind to children, the focal point when the organization came into existence.

SAC coordinator Bob Porter was at the Baker Building overseeing the distribution, and he said providing Christmas cheer for the 202 families, senior citizens and veterans comes solely from the many people who gave from the heart to make it happen.

He said schools, churches, businesses and families all play a key role in the process.

“It takes an entire community of people who understand the purpose of giving to others,” Porter said. “This is the one thing from Holmes County that brings everyone together with one purpose. I know there are other organizations like Share-A-Christmas in other communities, but I think few if any would match what happens in Holmes County.”

Porter said while the people of Holmes County are generous, there is still need for many.

“It is here,” Porter said of the needs of families in the county. “And it’s not just Share-A-Christmas that helps meet those needs but many other organizations, benefits and more who step up. This county knows how to meet the needs of others.”

On delivery day those people were busy filling roles and making sure things went according to plan.

That meant dozens of people swarming around the Baker Building to lend a hand.

“Look at this place. It’s crawling with volunteers, and we simply couldn’t do any of this without them,” said Steph Ditmars, who heads up the distribution center at the Baker Building in the Holmes County Fairgrounds.

She pointed out people like Scott Brown and David Martin who have been instrumental in keeping the flow of the delivery traffic moving and organized for years. She eluded to the many school-age youth who took time out of their schedule to load up the delivery vehicles. She highlighted Jim Park, who has helped get the right gifts in the right delivery vehicles for many years.

SAC continues to run like a well-oiled machine, words both Ditmars and Porter used in describing the SAC effort from start to finish.

Ditmars said it is comforting to know year after year the SAC chair-people can come to distribution day knowing they never have to worry about a shortage of people to help make sure all of the presents and food get to the homes to which they were earmarked.

“We depend on so many people, and we’ve never been disappointed,” Ditmars said. “It might feel like organized chaos, but it always gets done because each person here understands not only their role here, but the importance Share-A-Christmas plays in our community.”

She said seeing all of the young people participating was especially exciting because she said many of the current core team members have been around for many years and won’t be around forever. It is imperative young people take on responsibilities as they become the next generation to propel the operation into the future.

The delivery drivers are the ones who get the opportunity to see the joy of the recipients in person. Many of them have been participating in the delivery process for years.

Jess Van Dalen was in her eighth year of delivering and said their commitment comes from the heartwarming feeling they get from helping others.

“It’s touching to experience,” Van Dalen said. “They are so grateful for everything. They are so appreciative, and we love seeing the eyes of the kids light up.”

A mile down the road at Holmes Fire District #1, other volunteers were filling delivery vehicles with perishable food that coordinator Mindi Campbell said is designed to fill the refrigerators and shelves of families.

Campbell said many of the children in families on the SAC list receive free or reduced meals at school, and with Christmas break on the horizon, the food provided through SAC will hopefully provide them with meals through the break.

Items like milk, cheese, ham, chicken, turkey, bologna, hot dogs, fruit, potatoes, noodles, cereal, bread and canned goods make good shelf and refrigerator stuffers.

Like the leaders at the Baker Building, she too praised her team of volunteers who coordinate the delivery process.

The delivery went well enough that by noon nearly all of the deliveries were made, making for plenty of excited children and happy parents.