Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Henry County Christmas Cheer is undergoing some changes this year but will still continue its mission of helping low-income and residents in need throughout the county.
The board of trustees of the annual program announced it will not be accepting any donations of food, paper products, toiletries or toys and will only be accepting monetary donations due to the pandemic. Those donations can be sent to Henry County Christmas Cheer, care of LeRoy Helberg, Q610 County Road 19, Napoleon, OH 43545.
Helberg, president of the Christmas Cheer Board of Trustees, Henry County Ministerial Association, said the change is necessary because of the pandemic and the board has been working with the Henry County Health Department on making appropriate adjustments.
In previous years, donated items were collected and sorted with the help of volunteers at the Filling Homes location south of Napoleon. However, Helberg explained the facility can’t be utilized this year because of the pandemic, plus he noted they could have up to 60 volunteers helping to sort items at one time, which is also not something that can occur right now.
Helberg said the monetary donations will be used to purchase non-perishable food items to fill the baskets this year.
“We want to do something, but we can’t do what we normally do,” Helberg said. “We do have to cut back on volunteers, but not because we want to.”
However, some volunteers will still be needed to help pack the baskets, and Helberg said anyone interested in volunteering can contact him at 419-267-3619 for more information. He noted there will be temperature checks for volunteers, as well as face masks required and hand sanitizer will be available.
Anyone who wants to be considered to receive a basket can pick up an application at participating neighborhood churches or at Henry County Job & Family Services, located in the Hahn Center at 104 E. Washington St., Napoleon. Nov. 30 is the last day to make basket reservations.
Distribution of the boxes has also been altered as it will be a drive-thru pick-up only at the Henry County Fairgrounds Dec. 12 to limit contact as much as possible.
“Your contributions will be a blessing to many Henry County residents,” Helberg said. “Last year almost 475 baskets were filled through your generosity.”