VERSAILLES — Versailles Exempted Village School District has teamed up with the Versailles Council of Churches to help some local families out for the holidays.
One annual project had The Versailles Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter collecting toys for its annual toy collection. These new toys, for ages baby to 16, were collected through December 12 from with within the Versailles area. The toys will be distributed to the families served through the Versailles Council of Churches. Any extra new toys that are not distributed through the Council of Churches will be given to St. Denis Catholic Church, Rustic Hope and Dayton Children’s Hospital, and will be distributed through their sharing program of these groups, Versailles Agriculture Education and FFA Adviser Dena Wuebker said. Slightly used toys were also collected and distributed through the “Marines Toys for Tots Collection”, and will be given to surrounding counties, according to Wuebker.
Another charitable activity involves the Versailles Interact Club. The Interact Club, an extension of Rotary, is a service organization. The Versailles chapter is comprised of about 125 Versailles high school students in grades 9-12. The group seeks to encourage young people to take an active interest in community life, participate directly in their community and develop leadership skills in the process, according to Versailles High School Social Studies Teacher/Interact Adviser Amy Carman. The members are required to help with at least two activities during the school year, involving volunteering for projects or fundraising activities. Each year the club sponsors a family through the Versailles Council of Churches. The club has been sponsoring a family for many years, Carman said.
“The Council of Churches asks each year and we accept,” Carman said. “The members and I shop for the family(s) we sponsor, so that they may enjoy a happy and joyous Christmas with more of their needs being met. We often shop for toys and clothes for the children, and have a grand time putting together the gifts that we hope will make them smile on Christmas Day.”
Versailles Council of Churches President Dan Brown is new to the presidency this year, but has been involved with the council about 15 years.
“It’s a great feeling when all of the churches around here work together as one in a community like this,” he said. “I think it is absolutely fantastic. A lot of churches have differences, but we come together to help people.”
The Versailles Council of Churches includes the following churches: Holy Family Catholic Church in Frenchtown; St. Denis Catholic Church in Versailles, St. Louis Catholic Church in North Star, St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Osgood, Living Waters Ministries Community Church in Versailles, Trinity Lutheran Church in Versailles, St. Paul Lutheran Church in North Star, St. Paul Lutheran Church in Willowdell, Versailles Christian Church, Versailles United Methodist Church and Webster United Methodist Church.
According to Brown, sponsored families receive gifts and food. In addition to the schools and churches, many businesses also sponsor families. So far 25 families in the Versailles area are sponsored this year. In addition to the toy drive, some of the other efforts include: the on-going food pantry; a food drive, involving the boy and girl scout clubs and a community luncheon.
“Versailles is a great community,” Brown said. “When we need something; they pull in.”
Versailles Interact Club President and senior Kari Mangen said she finds the family sponsorship very worthwhile.
“Everyone deserves a good Christmas,” she said. “It is awesome that we can provide kids that wouldn’t usually get the best Christmas, with gifts and joy during the holiday season.”