DARKE COUNTY — The 2020 Darke County Community Christmas Drive is slightly behind last year’s pace, so the help of generous supporters will be needed down the stretch. At this point, there is a total of $19,745.89 from the giving through buckets, business donations and private donations. Contributions can still be made at the various locations throughout the county on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 18 and 19, and then on Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 21 and 22.
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, Ohio 45331, or by dropping off a donation to Treasurer Mike Boyer at the main branch of the Greenville National Bank. Those who prefer to give online may donate by going to gofundme.com and then click on “Search” to find the “Darke County Community Christmas Drive.” They would then click on “Donate Now” and give through Paypal or a credit card. All donations of any amount given, in any way, are greatly appreciated.
Among the organizations supported by the Christmas Drive is the Castine Area Food Bank (CAFB), an emergency food bank that helps those in need three times a year. CAFB serves those living in the Arcanum, Franklin Monroe and Tri Village school districts as well as Eldorado, Ft. Jefferson, Sherwood Forrest and West Manchester. From Jan. to Sept. 2020 the CAFB received 78 calls for assistance. For Thanksgiving approximately 80 families were helped with their Thanksgiving meal and for Christmas approximately 100 families will be assisted.
Because they have been closed to the public for much of 2020, the statistics for the Salvation Army from Community Action Partnership are down. Despite that, they have assisted 40 families, including 29 with gasoline vouchers, totaling $705, seven families with prescriptions totaling $368 and four families with miscellaneous items totaling $190 for items such as utilities, ID’s, etc.
Up to this point in 2020, the Ansonia Community Food Pantry has served 651 families in northern Darke County, which includes many new families showing an increasing need for food. They have also provided $4,500 in vouchers to be used for items not available from the pantry. As people struggle to recover from the pandemic, food pantry worker Lisa Gasper encourages contributors to give freely and generously to the Christmas Drive in this season of hope, love and peace.
Previous Christmas Drive funds helped Community Unity in being able to assist 1,049 people from 423 separate homes with almost $40,000 worth of assistance in 2019. Over $22,500 was spent to help with utilities and over $9,000 went towards motel assistance almost exclusively for homelessness. Community Unity also helps financially with rent and medical needs.
The Community Christmas Drive also provides funding for the Grace Resurrection Community Center’s (GRCC) efforts which include a large food pantry. In 2018, GRCC served more than 3,400 households and 11,600 individuals. This year the need is still great and they appreciate all who help support their ministry.
In 2019, the FISH Choice Pantry remained busy with 2,763 volunteer hours, not counting hours put in with 185 home deliveries and tax counseling. They served 176 new clients that were part of the 2,031 total households that have over 6,000 individuals. They received over 55,500 lbs. of generous food donations.
Affected by the pandemic, the Arcanum Food Bank has had a lot of ups and downs this year. With generous food donations from the Arcanum and Franklin-Monroe schools, the pantry is stocked with plenty of food at this point. This is fortunate as many needing groceries, including several new people, are now coming back to the pantry.
All of these organizations count heavily on the funding that comes from the Darke County Community Christmas Drive. Any questions about the Christmas Drive can be directed to Co-Chairman Frank Marchal at 937-569-1439.