By Patricia Beech –
When two friends/work colleagues at the atomic plant in Piketon decided to organize a Christmas Giving Project with raffled prizes, neither imagined just how successful their efforts would be.
After selling raffle tickets for only three weeks, they had raised $4,200 from donors across southwestern Ohio.
“We really didn’t know how much we would be able to raise,” said Melissa Taylor who along with her work colleague, Mollie Hoop, spearheaded the project.
Taylor says she believes seeking donations from sources outside the county helped to raise more funds for their project.
“We knew we didn’t want to just get donations in our town only because this time of year people get hit pretty hard by others looking for donations.”
Among those who responded to Taylor and Hoop’s requests for donations were the Cincinnati Reds organization and the Cincinnati Ballet Company.
“We had some great things to raffle off, thanks to the generosity of our donors, so people were very enthusiastic about supporting us and buying tickets.”
Taylor and Hoop sold raffle tickets for a gun, a crossbow, a trip to Tennessee, merchandise donated by the Cincinnati Reds organization, two tickets to the Cincinnati Ballet, and the ballet slippers of the lead ballerina in their Christmas production of the Nutcracker Suite.
According to Taylor, several local volunteers were also essential to making the project a success.
“There were many people from the community who were involved in this project,” says Taylor. “Everyone worked hard to help make this happen.”
She and Hoop kicked off their day-long Christmas Giving Project on Saturday morning, Dec. 2 at the Cherry Fork School and Community Center with a family-friendly “Breakfast with Santa”.
Later in the day they arrived bearing gifts at the Wilson Children’s Home and the Adams County Senior Citizens Center in West Union, delivering gifts to the kids and $75 gift cards to local seniors, who also each received a blanket and a box of candy.
The event’s grand finale was held Saturday evening at the Adams County Fairground and featured, in addition to the raffle, an auction and a concert by the gospel group, Blood Bought Trio.
Sam Bolender acted as auctioneer for the event.
Taylor, who is from West Union, says the project’s popularity has caused she and Hoop to consider bringing it back next year.
“We’ve had so many people express interest in being a part of this,” she says. “People want to be involved, and the more they’re involved, the more we can do for the kids.”
“It’s kind of hard to say no to that.”
Donors for the Christmas Giving Project included: Lloyd’s Excavating, LLC.; Greene Beanery Coffee Shop; Keim Family Market; Winchester Ag Service, Inc.; W/C Milling, LLC.; Gallery 32 Antiques; Peebles Flower Shop; Wheat Ridge Mini Barns; Carpet Outlet; Aunt She She’s Creations; Donna and Troy Moss; Yester Years; Yoder Transportation; Cincinnati Reds; Cincinnati Ballet; Snow Hill Golf; Wayside Inn; Fluor, BWXT; Caylin’s Creations; Blood Bought Trio; Manchester VFW; Sam Bolender Auctions; and volunteers Lee Tomlin, CeCe Tomlin, Mary J. Rogers, Janie Kirker, Sherry Hill, Deedy Pistole, Kathy Combs, Pam Grooms, Sue Rose, Missy DeAtley, and the West Union High School Beta Club.
“Those people who purchased a ticket or bought something at the auction or donated in any way, I just can’t thank them enough,” said Taylor. “Without them this project would never have happened.”