DARKE COUNTY – Through the first two weekends of the Darke County Community Christmas Drive, $9,070.47 was collected at 11 locations to help the needy locally.
While the donations are greatly appreciated, organizers said, giving will need to be increased over the last two weekends prior to Christmas in order to reach 2017’s grand total of $30,915.73.
Those giving to this year’s drive can be assured that the money given truly makes a difference in people’s lives as the funds will be of tremendous help in supporting the work of the local food banks in Castine, Ansonia and Arcanum in addition to the ministries of FISH, the Grace Resurrection Community Center and Community Unity, organizers said. Half of the giving at Kroger and Rural King assists people in the community through the work of the Salvation Army.
Through October of this year, FISH’s Choice Pantry has served 4,880 individuals and 1,722 families including 591 individuals older than 65 and 138 new families. A total of 226 home deliveries have been made by the pantry volunteers who have put in 2,202.5 hours of serving.
FISH’s Choice Pantry is in the midst of its annual Feed Darke County Food Drive and is being blessed with donations right now, officials said.
“The support and willingness of this community to help fill the needs of others is outstanding,” Director Kristy Cutarelli said.
The Christmas Drive also provides funding for GRCC’s food pantry. From January through November, GRCC’s food pantry has served 3,352 households that have 11,536 individuals, though some of these numbers reflect some duplication as households are allowed to come twice a month. GRCC’s food pantry is open on Mondays and Thursdays from 6-8 p.m.
“The need is still great, and we appreciate all who help support us,” Director Sharon Fellers said.
Community Unity is a financial ministry that helps needy Darke County residents with utilities, rent, medical needs and emergency transportation. Through the end of October of this year $36,026.61 has gone out to help clients that qualify for assistance.
President Doug Klinsing said with 396 homes being assisted so far in 2018, more clients already have been helped with more funds than in all of 2017.
In Arcanum the food pantry operated by the Faith United Methodist Church, which has 22 individuals helping with the Christmas Drive, has provided food to more than 600 individuals so far in 2018. It also supplies food vouchers to those in need as it works in cooperation with Sutton’s Super Value in Arcanum.
This ministry that was established in May of 2007 takes phone calls on Wednesdays to set up orders that are then picked on Thursdays.
Margaret Craig said she feels fortunate that clients may get food once a month due to the generous help of the food drives sponsored by the Arcanum Schools in October, the Boy Scouts in March and, of course, the Community Christmas Drive.
The Castine Area Food Bank has been able to help a number of families needing food due to a number of churches in the Castine area that support its work even as the Ansonia United Methodist Church Food Bank has helped many families over the years with bags of groceries for people in addition to giving food vouchers. This is possible in large part due to the help of the Community Christmas Drive.
The Christmas Drive will continue to accept donations on Fridays and Saturdays, Dec. 14, 15, 21 and 22. Donations also can be made to the “Darke County Community Christmas Drive” at P.O. Box 412, 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-Chairmen Joseph Soley at 937-547-0533, Mel Musser at 937-626-7100 or Jim Morehouse at 937-547-1557.