City police to collect donations in hat drive

GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis Police Department will be conducting a hat drive between 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday near Walmart to collect donations for less fortunate children.

According to Lt. Matt Champlin, of the Gallipolis Police Department, officers will stand at the intersections on Eastern Avenue that connect with the Walmart parking lot. Officers will collect cash donations with their hats in the hopes of providing some Christmas cheer for 100 Gallia County children. Officers will stop shortly after noon to prepare for the coming Christmas parade that same day.

Champlin said that officers will hand the money collected over to Gallipolis Lions Club members. Individuals will then go to Kmart and shop for children. Children are drawn from lists provided by school nurses where families were allowed the option of signing up for drive efforts and similar causes. Officers and nurses attempt to make certain all of the 100 children on the list are covered and no one is missed or “doubled-up on.”

“I formed the drive with fellow officers back in 2008,” said Champlin. “I saw other jurisdictions doing something similar and thought it was a good idea. It’s our way to give back. I thought it was a good way to give back to the community and give something to the kids. It’s been a pretty great success.”

According to Champlin, lists are provided by families for what may be suitable gift choices for children. Sizes of clothing are recorded as well as interests. Shoppers try to focus on providing the children with clothing and other articles they need before also getting them something fun to enjoy for the holiday.

According to previous information collected by the Tribune, the drive collected $7,801.12 last year. To date, that is the most the drive has collected since its inception in 2008.

Champlin said the Gallipolis Lions Club would also be providing a Christmas party for children and their families at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 19 at the Gallia County Senior Center.

In previous years, clubs and students from both South Gallia and River Valley high schools had helped purchase gifts for the children. Wrappings have been done at Grace United Methodist Church. Gifts have been traditionally distributed at the Christmas party as well.

Champlin thanked community members who have taken part in the drive in the past and who will in future efforts.

“It’s not so much us (responsible for the gift giving efforts) as it is them,” Champlin said. “We’re just the vehicle for getting the drive done.”

Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright