Delphos Community Christmas Project assistant Tina Link, left, First Financial Bank representative Stacy Youtsey and DCCP helper Kenny Grothous stand by the Angel Tree at the bank. (DHI Media/Nancy Spencer)
Delphos Community Christmas Project assistant Tina Link, left, First Financial Bank representative Stacy Youtsey and DCCP helper Kenny Grothous stand by the Angel Tree at the bank. (DHI Media/Nancy Spencer)
DELPHOS — With Halloween decorations still gracing many porches, it’s hard to believe Christmas is just six short weeks away. Nonetheless, it’s that time of year when Delphos residents give of themselves and look to spur holiday magic through the Delphos Community Christmas Project.

“Christmas is such a special time of year,” Delphos Community Christmas Project head Edna Fischer said. “I wake up with a smile Christmas morning knowing we’ve put a smile on a lot of children’s face and I hope we’ve reached them all.”

Angels now grace trees in the lobbies of banks in Delphos, including Union, US, First Financial and First Federal banks and Superior Credit Union. Gender, age, sizes for clothing and something a little special are included on the wish lists. A person simply takes an angel, purchases the items on the card and returns them, unwrapped, to the bank where the angel was taken by Dec. 1.

Cash donations came in at $47,000 last year, which doesn’t include the Angel Tree donations and other efforts like Knippen Chrysler Dodge Jeep’s toy drive, which brought in an actual truck-load of toys for all ages. There were also 11 new bicycles donated by businesses and private individuals.

“I know that sounds like a lot money and stuff, but when you consider we bought for 331 children, it doesn’t go that far,” Fischer said.

Families also received a bag of paper products and one of 147 $100 Chief Supermarket gift cards.

One continuing need for local children is proper footwear. Children grow at a quick pace and it can be hard to keep up. The Phi Delta Sorority has made it its mission to make sure all Delphos children have shoes and donate nearly 300 pair a year to the project. The money for the shoes comes from fundraisers, most notably a very recent successful annual Purse Bingo.

Local high school juniors and seniors help deliver all the gifts on the last day of school before Christmas break — Dec. 21 this year. They load up their cars with fruit plates, gifts, bags of paper products and bicycles and play Santa’s helpers. Some items are also collected by the parents in person.

Several weeks before Christmas, used Christmas trees — some refurbished by Brad and Kent Hoenbrink — with lights and decorations are given to families. Donations of trees and lights can be dropped off at Hohenbrink TV on Elida Road.

Knippen’s Toy Drive is set for Nov. 27-Dec. 8 this year. Those who donate can have their name entered into a drawing for a $100 Chief Supermarket gift card. FUN 107.1 will broadcast live from the dealership from 4-6 p.m. on Dec. 6. Cookies and refreshments will be served.

Forty-one years ago, Marie Dorman inspired locals to look beyond their own families and holiday traditions to embrace those less fortunate by donating time, money, new toys and clothing. That first year, Dorman enlisted the help of Fischer, who, with the assitance of Tina Link and many others, continues to make sure Dorman’s wishes are carried out each year at Christmastime with the Delphos Community Christmas Project.

Letters of request can be sent to General Delivery, Delphos OH 45833. For more information or to make a donation to the project, call Fischer at 419-692-8818, Link at 419-513-1728 or Bev Cross-McNeal at 419-235-6502.