Volunteer loves seeing community come together

Published 8:53 am Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Operation Happiness is only a day away, and Joy Graham will be there once again.

Actually, Graham has already been involved. For years, she has been one of several voices answering the phone to register families for Operation Happiness.

“It’s been almost 10 years of answering phones and recruiting people to answer the phones,” she said.

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Operation Happiness has continued for more than 40 years in Clark County and predates Clark County Community Services, which facilitates the program.

On the Day of Giving, families will receive a food box containing staples as well as a holiday meal and coats for everyone in the family.

This year, the Day of Giving is Wednesday at Emanuel Episcopal Church. CCCS Executive Director Debbie Fatkin said she expects to provide for at least 1,100 families.

Phone registration lasted 11 days this year, with morning and afternoon shifts each day. This year, there were enough volunteers Graham said she only worked two stints taking calls.

“I usually try to do five and fill in where needed,” she said. “I only had two slots this year. That’s a good sign.”

With only two phone lines, there are few breaks.

“Those first days, the phone rings off the hook,” she said. “We can only talk to two people at any moment. It does taper off.”

On Wednesday, Graham will be at the registration desk, helping sign families in at the church.

“That’s an exciting time,” she said, as she can put faces with names or voices on the telephone. “I’ll remember people’s stories as they come through the line.”

Graham said answering the phone is only a small part of pulling Operation Happiness together. In all, Fatkin said it takes about 600 volunteers and $40,000 for the event annually.

The reward, she said, is seeing everything come together for the Day of Giving.

“I think my favorite things is the community coming together,” she said. “It is a community effort. I’m so thankful for our local churches that started Community Services.”

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@bluegrassnewsmedia.com or call 859-759-0051.

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