The Roundup -

The Gifts From The Heart Committee Would Like To Thank You All


As we blow into the New Year of 2016, we have record numbers to announce for the Gifts From The Heart program! 2015 was the largest effort for Richland County providing 424 children with Christmas gifts, assisting 162 families. This includes 135 families receiving Food Baskets.

Sometimes we do not realize that it takes a village from start to finish to round out Christmas in a little county. It all starts with a bunch of big hearts and the Masonic Temple’s gracious donation for the use of their building. Then, starting in November, a few elves put up trees at local businesses, decorating them with tags, designed by Elk River Printing, for customers to choose so they can purchase gifts for children in need. Both local newspapers do write ups & photos as we progress through the season. County wide churches announce in their bulletins the need for monetary donations. County wide Financial Institutions start a Mitten Drive. As November zips by there is a whirlwind of enormous donations. Just a quick list of behind the scenes local businesses involved: KB Bubbles donates the use of several rugs, Jaycees donates food staples for a complete Christmas dinner plus this year a $1,500.00 check as well, Hurley Enterprises donates the Ham and Turkeys for the Food Baskets, Stockman Bank donates the reusable grocery bags as the Food Baskets, the Westside school, staff and students included, have a week long Food Drive, Fairview School K-12 have a week long Food Drive, all three Edward Jones offices and the local chapter of ABATE , each, have a month long Toy Drive and Fairview Fire Department have a Food & Gift Drive. During all of this, there are monetary & gift donations being collected from personal to local businesses to entire church congregations. There are several local businesses that have gift drives or monetary donations from their employees, as well. We even have a local Cub Scout Pack #187 that donates toys purchased with their own money!

The Gifts from The Heart, or Christmas Coalition, as some of us call it by its nickname, was started over 20 years ago by the kindness of a few people’s hearts. Today it is much larger in capacity, as it has grown with the county and its needs. The recorded numbers from 1997 were 92 families and 189 children, with no Food Baskets. This program would not be so awesome without the assistance of the above mentioned, nor without the several groups who sort all the food and toys, such as Sidney High Schools BPA, CCR and KEY Club, Fairview Catholic Youth Group, Fairview Student Council and Sidney Jr. High Builder’s Club. These kids put in a lot of time and effort the second week of December. There are also quite a few people who come in the week of to donate their time to sort, sort, sort!

The second Saturday of December is the big day, with tables of unwrapped gifts overflowing and bags of food stacked, all from the generosity of a village! From 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. we assist each family in selecting gifts, books, family games, coats, mittens and hats for their children. Each family receives a very full Food Basket also. To participate in this program there are two rules: the shopper must reside in Richland County and the children being shopped for must live in the shopper’s home. Other than that just show up!

Gifts From The Heart is a local program with local volunteers who provide Christmas gifts and food to local families donated by local businesses and local people. If there is anything left over the items are donated back into the community such as: infant blankets and clothing are donated to the Sunrise Clinic; jump ropes, balls or any sport items are donated to the Boys and Girls Club; puzzles are donated to Crestwood; movies and games are donated to Sidney Library; socks, hats and mittens are donated to the Richland County Shelter and both the Sidney and Fairview Food Banks get donated to prior to the big day after the food bags are heaping full. Generally there is not much leftover, but we try to give back to the community that is so generous to our efforts in providing a Christmas to those in need.

Thank you to each and every person, business and club that gives to this endeavor! If we failed to mention you, we sincerely apologize, but truly appreciate you!

Happy New Year,

Gifts From The Heart Committee


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