More apply for Christmas assistance
Donations needed to help area children

Wanda English Burnett, Editor

“My wish is that no kid would go without a toy on Christmas Day,” stated Bill Warren, as he looked over the many applications on his desk with requests for help at Christmas. He has been involved with the Toys for Tots program for children since its inception.

Warren says the need is great this year and the donations are down. Realizing that times are tough for many people, he says, “no gift is too all adds up.” He remembers the year an elderly gentleman brought in a piggy bank full of change. It was all he had, but he wanted to be a part of the giving. That money helped put smiles on the faces of local children, according to Warren.

Those participating in the organization of the Giving Tree program echo the words of Warren when he says the need is great and the response is down. According to Louann Menchhofer there are still 30 names on the Giving Tree at Alco in Versailles. “And, we have at least another 30 names that came into our office after the deadline,” she noted Monday morning. Her wish is the same as Warren’s that no child is without a gift come Christmas morning. She noted that on many of the applications they have received, children request clothing items more than toys. “People are really in need,” she noted. With that program, people can take a name off the tree that has specific needs of children, can even purchase the items at Alco, leave them at the store or take their purchases to the extension office in Osgood.

You can still take a name off the tree at Alco, or call the Ripley County Extension Office at 689-6511 to help someone in need. Monetary donations can be made as well by sending a check or money order to the extension office at 524 E. Beech Street, Osgood, IN 47037. The deadline to donate to the Giving Tree program is December 9. This allows members of the Ripley County Homemakers Extension club, sponsors of the event, to organize the gifts, buy them if needed, wrap them, and get them ready for distribution on December 19.

Being in the business of helping others is something Warren has done all of his life. He’s always been involved in some type of organization that serves others. He has been the Center Township Trustee for 13 years, and worked with food distribution to the needy since the early ‘90’s. He is presently the manager of the Reuse-Recycle Center near Osgood, where he sees people helped on a daily basis.

Appealing to clubs, organizations, groups, churches, and individuals, Warren knows the people of Ripley County will be generous once again to those less fortunate. “It would be great if a Sunday school class would take this on as a project,” he noted. He said if every business would just donate $25.00, it would cover the needs.

Out of the 100 plus applications he has already received for help, he says that could represent 250-300 children. “I don’t know if we’ll have the funds to help them all, but if we can just help a little,” he told the Osgood Journal last week.

Applications will be accepted no later than December 9. They may be obtained by calling one of the following: Warren at 689-4427 or 756-2560; Cindy Starkey, 756-0512, Dale Ann Francis, 689-4110 or Annie James at 812-584-7820.

Donations may be mailed to Bill Warren, 645 North Columbia, Osgood, IN 47037 with checks payable to Bill Warren with Toys for Tots noted on the memo. Checks need to be received no later than December 14 so there is time to purchase all the toys. Donations may also be given to any of the volunteers: Annie James, Betsy Asher, Karen Shafer, Dale Ann Francis, or Cindy Starkey. A receipt will be given to the donors.

Warren, who has himself given generously of his time, energy and money, does so because he says, “I just like to help kids.”

According to both Warren and Menchhofer, they are checking with other agencies to cross reference names of people who may have entered multiple agencies for help. Their goal is to help everyone a little and not give double to one family and then not have enough for another.

Bill Warren looks over the many applications he has received so far this year for help at Christmas time. Warren, who helped found the Toys for Tots program, says the need is great this year.