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Feeding the need

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Agencies, groups seek donations

By Jamie Baker-Nantz

While many families are making holiday plans, others are wondering how they’ll make ends meet.

Several organizations and groups in Grant County are making plans to help families in need this holiday season.

COAT DRIVE

Cash Express in Dry Ridge is collecting coats, toys, shoes and non-perishable food items through Dec. 15.

Items can be dropped off at the Cash Express office or St. Elizabeth Hospital Grant County, the Williamstown Post Office, Total Care Pharmacy in Dry Ridge, Cheap Beds, Integra Bank, Jack’s Glass, Bluegrass Orthotics, the Grant County Courthouse, Hwy. 154 Restaurant and the Dry Ridge Personal Care Home.

All donations will be given to the Grant County Neighborhood Center of the Community Action Commission for distribution.

COUNTY CHRISTMAS PARTY

Kim Haubner, of Dry Ridge, is a woman on a mission to see that less fortunate children have a merry Christmas.

Haubner looked for for a way to help families in the community who could use a boost this time of year and began hosting a party with refreshments and gifts for children.

She began a county Christmas party six years ago.

This year’s County Christmas Party will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at Sherman Elementary School. It is for elementary through middle school aged children.

Volunteers to help at the party, as well as donations of books, candy or cookies can be dropped off at Realty Place, 90 S. Main in Dry Ridge.

For more information, call Haubner at 859-242-1463 or Carol Jackson at 859-393-6282. Pickups are also available.

HELPING HANDS

Jerry Summers and Wil Jones, co-chairs of Helping Hands

Helping Hands, a coalition of local churches, is another organization that assists families in need and not just during the holidays.

Although the holidays are a time when requests for help pour in, Helping Hands, located at 214 Barnes Road in Williamstown, is open all year long.

A big boost to Helping Hands also comes from local schools that hold canned food drives, as well as the U.S. Postal Service which conducts a spring and fall canned food drive.

In addition to canned goods, Helping Hands accepts monetary donations to help with utility bills, as well as clothing and furniture donations. Beds and couches are the most requested items.

Helping Hands assists families who do not have children in school, said Jerry Summers, who co-chairs the group’s board of directors with Wil Jones.

For more information, call 823-0286.

NORTHERN KENTUCKY COMMUNITY ACTION COMMISSION GRANT COUNTY NEIGHBORHOOD CENTER

This year the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission Grant County Neighborhood Center is working with the Grant County School District’s family resource centers to coordinate holiday giving.

The CAC, located at 134 N. Main in Williamstown, collected names of families needing assistance and is now working to find sponsors.

Carrie Pugh, center director, said approximately 150 families had requested help, but only two sponsors have stepped up to help.

“If we don’t get more sponsors, we will have to turn families away and that means there’ll be people in the community who did without for Christmas,” Pugh said.

Last year, the CAC was able to assist 25 families with food baskets.

Despite donations of canned goods from the school’s during the canned food drives, more donations, including clothing, blankets and money, are needed.

Food Lion in Dry Ridge is also collecting canned food items that will be donated to the NKCAC.

“We always need donations, but, especially in these difficult times,” said Pugh.

For more information, call 824-4768.

SALVATION ARMY

Bells will be ringing outside Wal-Mart in Dry Ridge on Friday and Saturdays through Dec. 19.

Eighty-percent of the funds collected stay in Grant County to provide emergency assistance to residents with their utility bills, medication or other similar needs. The remaining 20 percent goes to the Cincinnati chapter, but returns in other ways, including reduced fees for children to attend summer camp.

Volunteers are also needed to work as bell ringers. To volunteer as a bell ringer, contact the DRE Family Resource Center at 824-3040 or e-mail lanette.whalen@grant.kyschools.us.

To join the Grant County Salvation Army unit, call Dick Austin at 823-5044.

SHOP WITH A COP

The Grant County Sheriff’s Department and Williamstown Police Department will assist needy children in Grant County through the Shop With A Cop program.

The police agencies work in cooperation with each elementary school in Grant County. Each school’s family resource center staff select students to participate in the program. More than 20 children will be selected this year.

Police officers will pick up the children in their police cruisers and take them to Vanity Fair/Health Tex and Factory Brand Shoes at the Dry Ridge Outlet Center and then to Wal-Mart. Children choose clothes and shoes before selecting toys.  Afterwards, the children are treated to lunch donated by Edwardo’s Pizza in Williamstown.

Approximately $250 is spent on each child.

Shop With A Cop will be held on Saturday, Dec. 12. Donations may be sent to the Shop With A Cop fund at Eagle Bank.

For more information call Sheriff Chuck Dills at 824-3333.

SHOP WITH A TROOPER

The Kentucky State Police will also be assisting more than 20 children from the 10-county area covered by Post 6 in Dry Ridge. This group will start their day on Dec. 19 with breakfast at the Dry Ridge Firehouse, followed by shopping at Wal-Mart and eating lunch donated by Edwardo’s in Williamstown.

According to Detective Fred Scroggins, donations are down this year so the amount available to spend on each child will be determined by the amount of money received.

“We’re falling way short of what was collected last year, so we need help from the public,” Scroggins said.

To donate to the KSP’s Shop With A Cop program, call Scroggins or Trooper Rick Saint-Blanchard at 428-1212.

TOYS FOR TOTS

Grant County Drugs and fire departments in Crittenden, Dry Ridge and Williamstown will be collecting new and gently used toys this year.

Toys can be dropped off at any Grant County Drugs location or at any of the three fire stations.

The fire departments will then distribute the toys to less fortunate families in the community.