Thanks to the generosity of residents and businesses, nearly 200 families who participated in local adopt-a-family programs had a Christmas this year that was a little merrier.
Both Canal Winchester Human Services and the Center for Groveport Madison Human Needs hosted adopt-a-family programs to provide food, clothing and some wish-list toys to families in need.
According to Canal Winchester Human Services Administrator Penny Miller, her organization assisted 100 families, which equated to about 325 people, through this program.
While this number was similar to previous years, Miller said including special Christmas baskets for Community Food Pantry patrons this year meant food distribution increased significantly.
"Countless donors make this successful each year," she said.
"We especially appreciate Meijer and Walmart, who provided clothes for 37 of the children who did not get adopted by individual donors, as well as all of the churches who were very generous; the Byron Saunders Foundation, who made a substantial contribution toward the food baskets; and the many private donors who adopted children, brought food items and clothes and filled Santa's toy box during Christmas in the Village."
Christine Boucher, director of the Center for Groveport Madison Human Needs, said her organization was able to individually adopt out 51 families this year and used general donations to shop for another nine families.
According to Boucher, about 20 previous adopt-a-family participants were also given the opportunity to pick out extra clothing and household items from the program's "abundance," which included donations beyond what was necessary for this year's participants.
"We had over 40 different groups and individuals make donations this year, including Groveport Madison High School students and parents who raised over $7,000 and adopted 44 of the kids themselves," Boucher said.
"It's such a huge project. We couldn't do this without the donations and the volunteers that help pull everything together," she said. "I'm thankful we're able to send these donations out and give these families a little nicer Christmas."
Now that the holidays have passed, both programs are looking to refill their resources so they can continue to provide for needy families during the rest of the year.
Boucher said in February, her group will again host its Five for Five fundraiser, where residents make a donation of at least $5 to enjoy foods made by volunteers using no more than five ingredients.
Miller said the Canal Winchester Community Food Pantry will be hosting its annual Souperbowl fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 2.