To get names of recipients, she checks with various churches and schools and Dearborn County’s Clearinghouse, Aurora, which aids Ripley County residents. “I try to make sure no one is double dipping and gets more than they should so we can help more.” Some ask for big items, such as a washer and dryer. Joseph interviews the family “to make sure it’s a need, not a want.”
Warren and Joseph are aided by a small committee. Dale Ann Frances, Holton, is Joseph’s right-hand volunteer. “She is Santa’s elf. You name it, she does it .... She has just been a godsend.” Another major helper is Warren’s wife, Brenda. Shopping for wish list items comes after monetary donations and the number of persons in need are tallied up to determine how much can be spent on each. After the gifts are purchased by committee members, they are set out in Building 10 at Ripley County Fairgrounds Park, Osgood, where applicants will pick up their surprises in mid-December.
Donors come from all parts of the county. According to Joseph, “I just had a phone call yesterday, somebody I’ve helped in the past. She’s doing very well.” Past recipients “always say, ‘I want to give back when I’m able.’” The Napoleon woman donated three shelves of toiletries she had collected.
The Ripley County Community Foundation contributed $2,500 last year and the co-chairs have applied for another grant this year. “Hill-Rom’s on board again. They’re adopting families.” Other businesses – so far Batesville Casket Co., Forethought, Batesville Tool & Die, Crum Trucking, Ohio Rod and Best Metal Finishing – “really make an impact on us.”
Organizations ranging from the Osgood and Versailles Lions to the Osgood Kiwanians and Tri Kappa in the Osgood area have been pitching in. Members of school clubs, such as Sunshine and FFA, “get everything in order for pickup” at the fairgrounds building. She would like more businesses and clubs to be involved. “It could be a monetary donation or adopting a family or a child.”