UNION CITY — As the days draw nearer to Christmas Eve, Santa’s hard-working elves are getting a little extra assistance in Union City from the Road Hogs motorcycle club and the “Toys for Tikes” campaign. Last Friday, a special gift delivery was made to the residents of UCM Residential Services in Union City.
UCM Residential Services, previously known as Union Christel Manor, is an intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities in Union City, Ohio. UCM provides quality residential services to 43 individuals in a home-like environment that promotes independence, personal choice, and self determination.
“People don’t always remember the MRDD community at this time of the year,” said John Vanata, Bike President of the Road Hogs, “And we wanted to do something special for them this Christmas.” Last Friday’s special delivery was the Road Hogs’ final stop for this year’s collection drive.
The Road Hogs “Toys for Tikes” campaign, now in its 38th year, began collecting hundreds of toys and gifts at the Circle in downtown Greeville on the weekend after Thanksgiving, with many Darke County residents and businesses donating annually to this philanthropic endeavor. Throughout the holiday season, the Road Hogs coordinate with Darke County organizations, churches, and individuals for delivery and distribution of the toys and gifts to those in need. “We love Darke County,” said Vanata, “and everything we do stays in our community.”
With COVID-19 restrictions on travel still in place this year, many MRDD residents will miss celebrating the holidays with family and friends.
“Reaching out really boosts their spirits!” said Mari Vanata (John’s wife), Community Integration Coordinator at Art Sense, UCM’s Adult Day Service Program.
Many Darke County MRDD residents participate in the Art Sense, an Adult Day program that features a gallery for residents to display their art work, an art studio, and a free community library, among many other activities at the center. Art Sense provides pre-vocational training opportunities in a realistic setting, replicating skills individuals may build upon and find useful in community employment in a variety of careers.
One UCM resident, Jeff Didier, came out to help unload the van filled with presents, and was very happy to receive a few surprises. Jeff, who is a huge Harley Davidson motorcycle fan, received several toy Harley replicas and a special fun bumper sticker which read, “Support your local Road Hogg.”
“We really appreciate the Road Hogs for bringing out the toys and gifts for our residents,” said Christina Parker, Q.I.D.P. for UCM Residential Services at Christel Manor, adding, “The residents get excited about receiving gifts!”
To learn more about UCM Residential Services, located 400 South Melvin Eley Ave in Union City, Ohio 45390, or to learn more about Art Sense Adult Day Program, located at 388 State Route 571, in Union City, Ohio, call 937-968-6265, or visit www.ucmresidentialservices.com.
Carol Marsh covers community interest stories and handles obituaries for Darke County Media. She can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 937-569-4314.