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OPINION: Toy drives, other charities critical for community

Christmas is a time of year when many in the community find a way to give back.

It is also a time when families struggle the most.

With higher utility bills from heating their homes, back-to-back holidays, and the day-to-day struggles of many local families, the holidays can be anything but cheery for some.

Thankfully, there are numerous ways to give back to help those in needs, especially local children who may do without on Santa’s big day later this month.

We shared two stories this week about local businesses and agencies coming together to make a difference in the lives of some of the less fortunate.

In Friday’s newspaper, we reported about a large donation to the Clark County Firefighter Association’s Christmas toy drive. The employees at Peoples Exchange Bank collected money to purchase dozens of new toys for the drive.

CCFD Lt. R.D. Brock said around 300 families were served in Clark County through the drive last year, and the hope is to the same this year.  Donations can be dropped off at any local fire department.

In today’s edition, you will find a story about the local Shop With A Cop program that is in its 26th year.

Members of Winchester-Clark County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 34 expect to take more than 300 children shopping this year to spend $125 each on clothes, toys and other items. Donations for this cause re being accepted through Dec. 14. To make a donation, call 859-644-5221.

Of course, there are numerous other opportunities to help make the holidays happier for others who are in need.

One of the flagship holiday charities is Operation Happiness, which will celebrate its annual Day of Giving Dec. 19. Approximately $45,000 will be spent for food baskets, coats and other expenses to ensure 1,400 families receive assistance this Christmas.

Donations are still needed, and $40 can sponsor a whole family. Donations can be made online at operationhappiness.net or at Clark County Community Services, 30 Taylor Ave. Additionally, new or gently-used coats, hats, gloves or other winter weather gear will be accepted.

It is incredible each year to see the outpour of donations and generosity from the community.

Clark County is great at supporting local causes that help neighbors in need.

We are eager to see how each of these programs and others work out this year and hope they bring smiles to those who are on the receiving end and warmth to the hearts of the givers.