Darke County Community Christmas Drive begins

Staff report

DARKE COUNTY — The 2021 Darke County Community Christmas Drive has kicked off and it’s hoped that this will be another great year of helping those in need in Darke County.

This year’s drive is in honor of Rev. Joseph Soley who passed away earlier this year. After ministering in New Jersey, Joe continued to serve various congregations locally including the Stelvideo Christian Church and the First Congregational Christian Church in addition to being a chaplain at Wayne Healthcare. By serving as the Chairman of the Darke County Community Christmas Drive for many years, he was instrumental in impacting countless lives through the benevolent ministries supported by the thousands of dollars that have been raised through the drive.

Starting just after Thanksgiving this year on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 26 and 27, donations may be made at 13 different locations throughout Darke County. The efforts will continue on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 3 and 4, Dec. 10 and 11, and Dec. 17 and 18, and then on Monday, Dec. 20 and Tuesday, Dec. 21. At many locations donations will be gratefully accepted between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

In Greenville, volunteers will be “bell ringing” at Eikenberry’s IGA, Rural King, Kroger, the Montage Cafe, and the Walmart Supercenter and contributions can be made at Dave Knapp Ford Lincoln, SVG Chevrolet, ACE Hardware, and the main office of Greenville Federal. Donations can also be made at the Greenville National Bank in Ansonia and the New Madison Mini Mart. For the first time, the Dollar General in Arcanum will be collecting donations.

The drive helps support the good work of the Salvation Army, the Grace Resurrection Community Center, The Fish Choice Pantry, Community Unity, the Faith United Methodist Food Bank in Arcanum, the Ansonia United Methodist Food Bank, and the Castine Area Food Bank.

Some of the churches helping with the “bell ringing” include the Oakland Church of the Brethren, St. John’s Lutheran Church, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, True Life Church, Crazy for Christ Church, St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, St. Paul’s Lutheran, Greenville Missionary Church, Bible Fellowship, First United Methodist, Stelvideo Christian, Trinity Wesleyan, Greenville Church of the Brethren, Evangelical United Methodist, First Presbyterian, Beamsville Christian, Fort Jefferson United Methodist Church, CMA Church, Cedar Grove Church of the Brethren, the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Pitsburg, Castine Church, and the East Main Church of Christ.

Various churches and organizations in Ansonia and Arcanum will also be assisting with the volunteer efforts. Those organizations helping out include the Rotary, the Kiwanis, the Gettysburg Lion’s Club, the Greenville National Bank, Darke County Realtors, and Darke County Rural Electric. The work of all of these volunteers is greatly appreciated. Last year individuals and local businesses generously stepped up and gave an incredible $43,566.54 — more than $11,000 more than the previous year. No money is paid to any of the volunteers and all of the proceeds remain in Darke County.

Besides the various locations around the area, donations can also be made to the “Darke County Community Christmas Drive” by mailing them to the Greenville National Bank, P.O. Box 190, Greenville, OH 45331 or by dropping off a donation to Community Christmas Drive Treasurer Mike Boyer at the main branch of the Greenville National Bank. Any questions about the drive can be directed to Co-Chairman Frank Marchal at 937-569-1439.