For seven years, Angels of Giving has provided holiday gifts to needy Ripley County residents. The initiative has been co-chaired all that time by county council member Bill Warren, Osgood, and Ripley County Fairgrounds Park manager Shanna Joseph, Holton. “He and I work side by side,” she reports. “We work very well together.”
Warren notes, “It’s a wonderful feeling to help a kid at Christmastime.” He suggests that at the Thanksgiving dinner table, families should “think of the less fortunate kids in Ripley County” and make promises to give. “Any amount would be appreciated. No amount is too small.”
When Joseph discussed the program at an Oct. 15 Kiwanis Club of Batesville meeting, one of the members said, “‘We know there’s not a problem in Batesville with poverty.’ The (Batesville Intermediate School) principal said, ‘Oh, yes, we do have a problem.’”
The organizer remembers when she delivered gifts to a Holton family. They lived in “just a little shack, a roof over their heads. That family was so thankful. Both parents were working, but they’re struggling on these holidays. We help senior citizens on fixed incomes. They were buying pet food and skipping their prescriptions.” She likes to give the elderly gas cards to get to physicians’ appointments and gift cards to be used at pharmacies.
“So many people don’t realize the need out there.” Joseph reflects that if she were a child, “I can’t imagine waking up on Christmas morning and not getting a gift. I get so many kids who just want a blanket ... Everyday needs that we take for granted (like soaps and shampoos) are things these families need.”
Last year $27,000 was contributed. Between that money being used to buy gifts for recipients, and others living in poverty being “adopted” by individuals, businesses and groups, who buy gifts on wish lists, 389 families were helped, including at least 70 from Batesville.