Nearly 5-percent of Union County's population was helped in some way by Care Train of Union County in 2010, fundraiser organizers said last week.

Nearly 5-percent of Union County's population was helped in some way by Care Train of Union County in 2010, fundraiser organizers said last week.

Care Train is a Christmas holiday fundraiser in which volunteers gather food vouchers, toys, and other items for needy families and Union County residents. The fundraiser brought in about $152,000.

"The Care Train has existed for almost a quarter of a century because we are in the business of helping people," founder and chairman Dave Laslow said last week. "We are delighted to announce that we were able to assist more people than ever in 2010 due to the generosity of our community."

Laslow said that 2,785 people were assisted by Care Train during the 2010 holiday season. Food vouchers worth $141,000 were purchased for distribution to qualified families, seniors and disabled adults.

While volunteers gather funds and items throughout the season, the main thrust of Care Train comes from a large December fundraiser, which has historically taken place at McAuliffe's Ace Hardware in Marysville. Last year, Care Train also partnered with Union County Senior Services to assist the elderly in the community.

Of the 986 families assisted from last year's auction, 313 were senior citizens, and 129 were disabled adults, according to executive director Pam Klaus. Gifts were distributed to 1,203 children. In addition to toys collected in the community, 67 people and groups "adopted" Care Train kids and provided them with gifts, Klaus said.

"Trinity Lutheran Church alone assumed the responsibility of 200 children," Klaus said. "Over 1,500 hours were donated by volunteers to make the Care Train a success."

Klaus said volunteers are already beginning work for the 2011 auction, which is scheduled for Dec. 10, again at McAuliffe's Ace Hardware. Distribution Day, when the presents are handed out to the community, will take place on Dec. 18 at the Dutch Mill Greenhouse.

Along with numerous volunteers, Care Train is managed part-time by Klaus, along with a core group of community members.

The 2010 team included Bob Berbee, Barry Border, Anne Breneman, Rich Cencula, Jim Cesa, Nancy Conklin, Phillip Connolly, Bruce Daniels, Shelby Daniels, Dan Fitzgerald, Teresa Jackson, Dave Laslow, Laura Laslow, Clay Moore, Karen Page, Dani Plank, Mike Ramsey, Teresa Ravencraft, Ron Reich, Dan Westlake and Taylor Wycoff.

More information can be found online at www.caretrain.org.