Our view: Rally around Operation Happiness

Published 12:12 pm Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Christmas season is typically filled with joy. Families and communities look forward to time spent together gathered around tables of food and brightly lit trees.

For many in our community, the holiday season marks another time when they will struggle to make ends meet and provide basic necessities for their families.

One local program goes above and beyond throughout the year to help families move toward self-sufficiency and then steps up at Christmas time to provide a little extra joy for those in need.

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Clark County Community Services was founded in 1970 by the Winchester-Clark County Association of Churches.

The organization is the primary source for aid for families in crisis in Winchester and Clark County. Since 1975, CCCS has been encouraging families toward self-sufficiency while providing food, clothing, shelter and utility assistance, along with a food pantry and thrift store.

In 2015, community services distributed 13,350 food boxes, issued 1,508 clothing vouchers, served 99 families through its housing program, provided 865 families with life skills classes and offered transient assistance to 11 families. Last year, CCCS provided food for 3,548 adults and 1,708 children.

It is shocking to realize there is such a need in our community, but it seems each year the need continues to grow.

Each Christmas, CCCS also distributes food and warm clothing for families in need through Operation Happiness.

The mission of Operation Happiness is to “share the love and compassion of Christ through a food-basket program.” Approximately 1,400 families receive a food basket with turkey and all the trimmings along with some pantry staples and coats each Christmas.

It is an all-volunteer effort, made up of volunteers who dedicate their time and effort to serve those in need.

In 2015, 1,455 food boxes were distributed, more than 2,400 adults and 1,000 children were served and 600 volunteers participated.

Volunteers are still needed, and donations are accepted for the outreach project year-round. To learn more, to sign up as a volunteer or to make a donation, visit operationhappiness.net.

This year, the Day of Giving will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 21 at Emmanuel Episcopal Church.

We applaud the staff and volunteers at CCCS for their commitment to improving the lives and well-being of Clark County families, and we implore our readers to rally around this worthy cause this holiday season.