Buckeye Lake groups team up for Christmas
BUCKEYE LAKE – Several local organizations are working together to assure this Christmas is a merry one for Buckeye Lake families in need. The Buckeye Lake Fire Department and the Salvation Army are cooperating to provide families in need with gifts and meals Christmas Eve, and the Buckeye Lake Community Celebration Committee is hosting a Christmas party for local children Dec. 11, all with a little help from their friends.
The Buckeye Lake Fire Department is accepting donations of toys and turkeys. Buckeye Lake Fire Association member and Toys for Tots Committee Chair Misty Miller said the department teamed with the Salvation Army to provide presents and meals to roughly 28 Buckeye Lake families in need. “We’re going to deliver them Christmas Eve,” she said.
Miller said the Salvation Army is providing meals for the families except for turkey, so the fire department is accepting donations of turkeys and new unwrapped toys through Dec. 22. The fire department is staffed 24 hours. “They can be dropped off any time,” said Miller. “We need the toys, we don’t even have a full box.” She said boxes for donations are also at the Buckeye Lake Dollar General and the LaPaloma restaurant in the Blue Heron Boardwalk shopping plaza.
“We had so many people apply for assistance this year,” said Salvation Army Volunteer Coordinator, A. Kaye Hartman, who also serves on the Buckeye Lake Village Council. She said this is the second year the organizations are accepting donations and distributing them. Hartman said all families in need who applied for assistance last year received it, and she hopes the same will be true of this year.
The community has even more holiday cheer.
“Over the past six years on the second Saturday in December, the Buckeye Lake Community Celebration Committee hosts a Christmas party for our kids,” said Buckeye Lake Museum Director J-me Braig. “It takes place at the vacant lot in Z’s parking lot across from the Village office.”
She said the BLCCC’s mission is to provide winter clothing for Greater Buckeye Lake region children, as well as reaching out to provide families in need with a full and happy Christmas. “The first one was in the field beside the firehouse in 2004,” said Braig. The BLCCC, the Buckeye Lake Museum, and the Buckeye Lake Fire Department are working together to present the Dec. 11 Christmas party.
Braig said the BLCCC group consists of founding members, Mary Morrison, Cathy Viores, Rachel Powell, Dawn Casto and Braig. The late Dwight Joseph was also a founding member. This past year the group added Hartman, and local business people Jo Fedor and Dr. Doug Poorman.
The group raises funds all year long for the BLCCC Christmas party event including the “Kar Shoz” at the Buckeye Lake State Park, the Buckeye Lake Memorial Day Parade, an ice cream social poker run, and Turkey Treat Day.
“We receive donations from many organizations throughout our area,” said Braig. The money buys coats, hats, gloves, toys and food for local families need. “The day of the event we hand out the coats and toys and other stuff, and have free hot dogs, drinks and cookies,” she said. “There is a fire and community cheer. Mr. and Mrs. Santa hand out the candy and take the wishes of the kids as they sit on his lap.”
Braig said this year the Buckeye Lake Fire Department asked Hartman if they could help gather toys. “So we are working with them to provide more toys so that the BLCCC will have more funds for the coats, hats and gloves,” said Braig. The Buckeye Lake Museum provides meeting space all year long and is the headquarters for the event. The Salvation Army provides the food canteen on the day of the event and the names of the families in this area who will receive a Christmas meal and gifts for the children Christmas Eve. The Army has a screening process that makes sure all families are served. “We get the families in our area and help as many as we have money for,” said Braig. Water’s Edge Ministries will work with Hartman to ensure that the families they are helping are not duplicating any of the families that the BLCCC is helping.
“It’s a great day and brings our community together, rich and poor, to celebrate in the spirit of giving and receiving,” said Braig of the Dec. 11 event. “I’m very happy to be a part of this wonderful group.”