Christmas project raises over $75K, looks to cover remaining children

By Dean Wright -

GALLIA COUNTY — The Gallia County Christmas Project has gathered over $75,000 in its mission to provide gifts for roughly 1,500 children across the county due to the community’s generosity and is still seeking to provide Christmas gifts for around 20 remaining children.

“Last Friday, we sent out a letter, with a little over a hundred children left we didn’t have a sponsor for,” said Dana Glassburn. “We sent out letters so parents would know if they didn’t have sponsors so that way they could prepare. We were able to sponsor almost all as of (Tuesday), we got everyone something except for our last 20.”

Project members lauded Addaville PTO for helping close the gap on short notice. A few children remain to be sponsored.

According to Gallia County Job and Family Services Director Dana Glassburn, Wing Haven’s Jamie Payne and Kristine Smith, the project is made of Gallia County residents of all walks of life. From nonprofit agencies, businesses, private citizens, churches to nonprofit organizations, residents banded together in early October to begin providing for children who many not have the opportunity to see a Christmas like their peers.

According to Glassburn, project members have coordinated with public schools for direction in asking who would be interested in the program as well as churches and other organizations. Families were able to apply to the project to have their children placed on a list in requesting their children be remembered during the project’s gift giving season. The project originally started in the late 2000s.

Project members stressed the necessity of families keeping in mind when they apply for the project that the project was not considered a government program. The project aims to assist children who might not otherwise get the opportunity of having the same Christmas experience as their peers. They have asked families to not apply unless they truly did not feel they could provide a Christmas for their children. Much of the project’s gift giving operations hinge on an honor system.

The project has held distributions over the last few weeks and families which did not show at distributions gifts were cycled back to other children to make certain nothing went to waste.

“Every group that participates (in the program) does some kind of a project this time of year,” said Glassburn. “We all work together serving the same 1,500 kids. They’re all Gallia County kids. We go from infant to age 18. This isn’t a government program or an entitlement. It’s all about providing love for one another and charity surrounding the love of Christ and the season. That’s why we do this.”

For those looking to help the project in its last days of operation, they can donate to the Body of Christ Outreach Ministry account opened at Ohio Valley Bank by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21, as it is the last remaining gift distributing member of the Gallia Christmas Project. Due to time constraints, project members ask for cash donations only. According to members, $50 is geared to take care of one Gallia child’s Christmas. Any contributions which reach over the project’s target are saved to be distributed to children for the following year’s holiday season. Project members have stated donations are tax deductible. Those looking to contact the project can email or visit the Gallia County Christmas Project Facebook page.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright