FYI, 15 partners spreading holiday hope in western Clark County

The Grinch For Good event in New Carlisleprovides a place where kids from struggling families in western Clark County can shop for Christmas gifts for immediate family members. CONTRIBUTED

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The Grinch For Good event in New Carlisleprovides a place where kids from struggling families in western Clark County can shop for Christmas gifts for immediate family members. CONTRIBUTED

A double-pronged Christmas project by Family & Youth Initiatives and 15 other community partners will make the holidays happier for struggling families in western Clark County this years.

Part one is the third annual Grinch For Good event, to be held from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at New Carlisle Elementary School, 1203 Kennison Ave. in New Carlisle. Then part two is a new and growing movement called Hope For The Holidays, which teams FYI with 15 other local entities to provide Christmas toys, food and clothing for struggling western Clark County families. Both events are free.

“We’re excited to partner like this so that we can help more needy families,” said FYI founder and co-executive director Pat Banaszak. “The goal is to provide those in the community who need a little help with a good Christmas and hope for the future.”

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In its third year, the Grinch For Good event provides a place where kids who might otherwise struggle to afford it can come and shop for free Christmas gifts for their immediate family. Charitable Recycling will again partner with FYI to help provide the gifts. Another partner for the event, New Carlisle Federal Bank, will be providing volunteer gift wrappers at the event. FYI will be adding plenty of other giveaways, like coats, gloves, hats, pajamas, etc. and will hold a raffle for 12 bikes. There will also be plenty of holiday games and crafts to entertain the kids.

And, of course, there will be an appearance by a certain infamous Christmastime villain, whose hard heart was melted by the love of his community.

“It started as an outreach for the teens we were mentoring in our DEFY program at Tecumseh (High School),” said Julie Driskill, director of FYI’s mentoring program. “It’s just a way for them to give back. The concept was that the Christmas spirit reformed the Grinch and his heart grew bigger and he gave back. That’s really what this event is all about.”

Premier Health will be there with a display on the harm of vaping, free blood pressure checks and other education on staying healthy. And Shoes For The Shoeless will be giving out 62 free pairs of shoes to those who need them.

The Hope For The Holidays event will provide food, clothes and gifts for those in need in western Clark County this Christmas. It started last Christmas with a few calls to FYI’s office seeking help with holiday expenses and developed into help for over 35 families. This year, early planning and organization has yielded a much-needed, all-encompassing effort based on community teamwork. The beneficiaries will be about 250 western Clark County families who are struggling to make ends meet.

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Co-sponsors for the Hope For The Holidays event include: The Salvation Army, Shoes For The Shoeless, Lee’s Chicken, Bethel Churches United, Park Layne Food Pantry, New Carlisle Federal Savings Bank, Security National Bank, Tetra Mold and Tool, Gateway Business Group, Stitches United, the New Carlisle and Medway Family Dollar Stores, Truck N4 Tykes, and Clark County’s attorneys and judges.

“We are so delighted that this is all taking place in western Clark County,” said Anita Albert-Watson of the Salvation Army. “We have helped people there in the past. But having to get to Springfield to register and pick up the gifts was hard for a lot of people. This will make it easier. We’ve been wanting to reach out in that area even more, so we are happy to partner in this.”

There will be one more late registration for Hope For The Holidays at the Grinch event.

For more information on either project, to donate cash or gifts or to volunteer to help, call 937-845-0403.

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