Just two days before Christmas, the staff of the Highland County Prosecutor’s Office was delivering gifts made possible through its nonprofit, For Highland County Kids.
This year the office staff bought gifts for 13 children of four families, all from Highland County. Those gifts were all delivered by the office staff on Friday. Typically, Santa helps with the deliveries, but this year the jolly elf was unable to make it.
Assistant prosecutor Molly Bolek said the office receives the names of some of the families it helps from Community Action, but she said that sometimes they are able help families they have come across in their work.
She said other organizations are doing a lot to help families in need, but sometimes, and for various reasons, a family is unable to get on a list in time for the holidays.
For Highland County Kids started in 2011 after the prosecutor’s office learned of a family “that didn’t have anything,” Bolek said. And it was too close to Christmas for the family to get on any sort of list to be assisted for the holidays.
Bolek said the office staff purchased necessity items, like soap and towels. They brought the family a Christmas tree and took them food, too. She said that first family is how the office “became aware of families that fall through the cracks.”
Bolek said that most of the families they have helped don’t live in town and can’t just walk to the store. Additionally, she said a lot of them are raising relative’s children.
Prosecutor Anneka Collins said that the late Ross Greer, who was an assistant prosecutor, had a hand in beginning the nonprofit. People still donate in Greer’s honor, she said.
The prosecutor’s office keeps the nonprofit going because there “is such a need” for what it provides, Collins said.
“It’s being able to help the kids. I mean, it’s Christmas, and giving is what it’s about,” Bolek said. “And the kids are so excited about every little thing.”
For the last five years, the staff has gathered the information about the children of the families they will help, shopped for specific items for each child, wrapped the gifts, and delivered them with the food just before Christmas.
The nonprofit helps people throughout the year, but Christmas time is the biggest project, Bolek said. And along with providing gifts to the children, the nonprofit also gives each family food for breakfast and dinner on Christmas, and cookies to leave out for Santa Claus.
Contributions to the nonprofit that helps local families can be made to For Highland County Kids, c/o Highland County Prosecutor, 112 Governor Foraker Place, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133.
Helping the families have a brighter Christmas each year, Bolek said, “is one of our favorite things to do.”
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.