Friday, November 21, 2008

Dianne Garrett reports: Whitehall Community Kids Christmas.

Zach Woodruff, Whitehall Community Affairs Coordinator, visited our studio Wednesday, November 19 to share information about Community Kids Christmas. The program started ten years ago by Eastern Kiwanis and Pride of Whitehall. Each year they have raised money and collected gifts for needy children of Whitehall.

Zach explained that they tried something new this year. The fund raising began in late July in the business community, and to date they have raised over $11,000. The theme this year was "100 from 100 in 100", meaning they asked 100 businesses to give $100 within 100 days. Some gave more and some gave less, but all were excited to be on board, according to Zach. "I was pleasantly surprised with all the gloom and doom you hear about the economy. There is a passion to serve this community, even among the business owners who do not live here. The generosity is still strong. He noted that most of the businesses in the city are small.

He has worked with the social workers in the school district to identify the children and their families with needs. They then went out into the homes to learn about the kids to find out what they want, as well as what parents say they need.

Between 160-175 children will receive gifts, and the organizers hope they can serve 250 next year. "We stole a page from Jimmy Carter and Habitat for Humanity" this year. When people receive a home from Habitat, they are required to help build the home. So we asked our parents to help. By doing this, we are empowering the parents to be able to take part in the process," explained Zach.

On the second and third weeks of December 50-gallon trash bags will be dropped off, one for each child. They will be delivered while the children are at school. They will also include wrapping paper, tape and scissors to ensure the parents have the tools to do the wrapping.
He said that the parents are very excited to participate.

Santa's Christmas Coach will also make the rounds on December 20, 21 and 22 to deliver one gift that each of those children listed for their parents. Some who wanted bikes will get them delivered by the coach. Zach said, "Anyone who doesn't think the spirit of Christmas is alive and well, should come to Whitehall. The families will also receive everything they will need for Christmas dinner. Any stragglers they were unable to deliver, will be delivered on Christmas Day by Zach and his wife and others.

The businesses who have donated will receive a window cling-on to alert patrons of their participation. The establishments will be recognized by ads, as well, for residents and patrons to be aware of their generosity. Zach added that the businesses go above and beyond just paying their taxes to the city. The approximately 85 partners also include churches, civic organizations and individuals. He concluded by saying, "We want to be as responsive and generous as we can, with continued efficiency in order to expand next year.

If anyone would like to contribute, they can call Zach at 614-205-9811.

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Design is copyright 2008. All rights reserved. Bexley Public Radio Foundation. Text is copyright 2008. All rights reserved. Dianne Garrett.

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