DARKE COUNTY — With the generous giving of many Darke County area residents, the lives of many less fortunate in the community will be impacted in a significant way.
The 11 bell-ringing locations and some other contributions brought in donations up approximately 10 percent from last year, and the money from that was distributed Friday morning at Greenville National Bank to various organizations and food banks in the area.
According to the Co-Chairmen, Pastor Joe Soley, Jim Morehouse and John Person, the 2016 Darke County Community Christmas Drive was a success at a grand total of $30,427.75. It was noted that $27,451.57 was collected the year before.
“Besides the donations totalling $27,431.75 at the 11 locations, there were generous private donations from Eikenberry’s IGA, Stelvideo Christian Church and more individuals than in any of the past drives,” they said.
According to them $133 also went to the drive through a Bob Evans Restaurant fund-raising effort.
“In spite of obstacles, the people of Darke County responded very well and their giving is truly appreciated,” said the trio of pastors. “The help of all the businesses that allowed collecting to take place is greatly appreciated.”
These locations included both entrances of Wal-Mart Supercenter, Kroger, Eikenberry’s IGA, Rural King, Kitchen Aid Experience, Dave Knapp Ford, Greenville Federal Bank, Greenville National Bank in Ansonia, Super Valu in Arcanum and the Mini Mart in New Madison.
The contributions have been distributed to help support the good work of FISH, the Grace Resurrection Community Center and Community Unity (each receiving $6,825) and the Salvation Army, in addition to the ministries of the Faith United Methodist Food Bank in Arcanum, the Ansonia United Methodist Food Bank and the Castine Area Food Bank (each receiving $2,275).
“Thanks goes out to the Salvation Army who worked with the Community Christmas Drive at Kroger,” said the co-chairs. “Their half of the funds, totalling $3,109.62, collected at the store will remain in Darke County.”
They also commended those who stood outside in the wind and rain, and all of the community churches, businesses and service organizations that gave their time and energy to this outreach.
Those churches that helped with the bell-ringing this year included St. John Lutheran, Oakland Church of the Brethren and St. Mary’s Catholic Church, along with the Greenville Rotary Club and the Greenville Kiwanis Club, who worked all 10 days of the drive. Other churches that took part included Coletown Christian, Greenville Missionary, St. Paul United Church of Christ, St. Paul, Lutheran, St. Paul Episcopal, Bible Fellowship, Stelvideo Christian, East Zion, Trinity Wesleyan, Fort Jefferson United Methodist, Evangelical United Methodist, Greenville Church of the Brethren, First Congregational Christian, First United Methodist, First Presbyterian, Beamsville, Ansonia United Methodist Church, First Church of God of Ansonia, Arcanum Faith United Methodist, Castine Church of the Brethren, New Madison United Methodist, First Universalist and the Cedar Grove Church of the Brethren.
Also helping were the Lions clubs in Greenville and Arcanum as well as Greenville National Bank.
The co-chairman wish to express their deep gratitude to all those involved in helping, including all of the steering committee members, Christmas Drive Treasurer Mike Boyer and the staff at the Greenville National Bank main branch.
Any area churches or organizations wanting to be involved in the 2017 drive may call Soley at 937-547-0533. It is hoped that the funds collected through this past year’s Christmas Drive will help a lot of families in the area struggling to get by and that this year’s drive will experience even greater success.
This writer may be reached at 937-569-4315. Follow her on Facebook and join the conversation and get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.