GREENVILLE — Dave Knapp Ford Lincoln Mercury’s desire to have a “great Christmas” for area children is about to be realized.
Knapp’s have been participants in this year’s Operation Christmas Cheer-Darke County (OCCDC) as a drop-off point for toys to be delivered to area children this holiday season in the auto dealership’s “Stuff the Trunks” drive. Those at the dealership, including Kristina Knapp, marketing manager, and Chris Heidenreich, sales manager, put a plea out to area citizens to bring gift items to Knapp’s to be placed in the trunks of vehicles in the showroom until they are distributed by Santa.
The duo indicated that in years past, Knapp’s had helped more than 395 children since 2011 to have a Christmas to remember via the Toys for Tots program. That program, they indicated in an earlier interview, was not serving Darke County this year.
“I’ve never seen so much stuff coming out of our cars,” said Heidenreich. “Our Mustang’s trunk was full; the Ford Escape was completely full; the trunk in the Lincoln MKS is full; the bed of our 2016 Ford F-150 was completed filled and falling out the back; and we are putting stuff in the bed of our 1925 Model T pickup truck. It was bigger than I ever thought it was going to be.”
He said among items brought in were 12 bicycles, with Dave Knapp purchasing helmets for all 12 bikes; some remote cars and helicopters; makeup for little girls; games for x-boxes; footballs and basketballs; easels; action figures and Legos.
“We received things from Elder-Beerman/Rike’s; Kohl’s; Meijers; Dayton, Fairfield and Richmond malls; Wal-mart; and Indianapolis,” Heidenreich said.
He said Operation Christmas Cheer people were supposed to come in at closing time Thursday to start categorizing the items that were brought in to the dealership to prepare for the distribution of these gifts.
“They came in today and couldn’t believe how much stuff is here,” he said on Wednesday. “They [OCCDC) are calling back as many people as possible that they had to turn down earlier for this year. It’s exciting as heck.”
One lady, he said, was given money by an organization to use it for Darke County people this holiday season.
“She could hardly steer her car… there were so many presents in it,” he said. “There were gifts in the front, back and in the trunk and she left and got more gifts. People have told us they are glad they could bring gifts someplace where it will be spent on Darke County people. They say they are glad to bring it here. It’s just amazing.”
Heidenreich concluded, “This didn’t do anything for us as far as sales. Dave wants to do things like this for the community and he opened his showroom up to do it.”