Many Benefit from Community Fund Christmas Giving Program
The Portland Community Fund Association’s annual Christmas Giving Program, co-chaired by Lisa Balderson and Sandy Klein, came through again for those in need.
Even the COVID 19 pandemic didn’t stop the generosity and good will of Portland residents toward their neighbors. Many Portland residents had a Merry Christmas thanks to this program. The Christmas spirit is alive and well in Portland.
The Christmas Giving Program consists of donations of food, toys, money and other items from businesses, churches, schools , community groups and individuals. Applications are accepted from residents in the Portland School District.
At our distribution Thursday, December 17th, 112 households (30 seniors and individuals and 82 families) received a Christmas dinner and children 18 and under received gifts. Our group numbers are changing with more seniors and individuals needing help and fewer large families. We had 20 families adopted for Christmas. We had 3 families that received help from us in the past that donated or adopted a family this year. It is nice to have them pay it forward to help others.
Charity was demonstrated in a variety of ways.
Here’s how the community did it.
Donation boxes were placed around town in some businesses and churches.
Giving Trees were placed at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, St. Patrick Catholic Church, Congregational Church, Epic Church, United Methodist Church and Tri-County Electric Cooperative to collect gifts for family members 18 and under.
Portland Middle School collected 2 vehicle loads of food and toys. Oakwood and the Portland High School Student Council had food drives and collected large amounts of food. Food not included in the Christmas dinners, was donated to the Portland Food Bank and the Congregational Food Bank. Truck loads of food were taken to each one. Portland Backpacks for Bellies also received food donations.
The students and staff at Portland High School, Westwood and St. Patrick’s School filled shoeboxes with age appropriate items to give to the children. Amy Shaw at St. Patrick’s School had a can drive and raised $500 to buy items for the shoeboxes and to make a donation to the P.C.F.A. Mrs. Hooker’s class at Westwood had a change drive and collected $200 to buy shoebox items. The shoe boxes are very popular and a nice gift. Kacy Goeckel coordinates this program.
Family Farm and Home collected many socks and toys that were distributed.
Church of the Nazarene and Pastor Jimmy Guffey provided us with a great building to collect, sort, store and distribute the donations. We appreciate the use of this facility which worked very well for us. We didn’t have to move everything for distribution. The traffic flow was s good and everything went well.
Food donations came from some businesses and individuals. THK Rhythm Automotive donated over 60 turkeys. Chopper and Jonda Schrauben from the Wagon Wheel donated pizzas and salads for our lunch at distribution. Angie and Dan Martin donated many squash and onions for us to give out.
Cash donations and gift cards were donated by many businesses, churches, and individuals to help with the Christmas Giving Program. Large toy donations were made. Tanya Schneider from Courageous Coffee donated 10% of coffee sales for a total of $600. Tom’s Food Center helped us with the food and delivered the food to us.
Jean Days were held at THK Rhythm Automotive, ESS-Will Suib/Mets and the Portland City Hall Employees and raised a total of $1413.
Hats, scarves, mittens and gloves were given out to our families and individuals. Many handmade hats and mittens were donated.
Montcalm-Ionia United Way donated 20 new coats, 6 pair of snowpants and 18 hats and gloves to be given out. We had other coat donations, so we were able to give out 26 new coats to kids that needed them.
The P.C.F.A. bought $500 in Portland Prime money from our donations to give out and to support local businesses.
We had some extra toys after we filled the bags for Portland Children. They were donated to RAVE, the Michigan State Police, Clinton County Caring is Sharing and IM Safe.
The Portland Community Fund Association’s Christmas Giving Program is a total community effort and project. Portland is a very generous and caring community. This program truly is “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” which makes Portland a great place to live.
The Portland Community Fund Association board members thank everyone who made a donation or helped us in any way to make the Christmas Giving Program a success. We appreciate your support.
Visit our website at portlandcommunityfund.org and like us on Facebook for more information on our organization.
Photos courtesy of Rich and Annette Schneider.
Announcement from Sandy Olson in behalf of the Portland Community Fund Association.