Perrysburg Township hopes to brighten the holidays
The walls of the Lime City Road garage adjacent to the Perrysburg Township offices are lined high with giant stuffed teddy bears and Sesame Street characters.
Handmade winter hats and clothes split space with the boxes of food being organized for giveaway.
A doll-sized retro dining set, new stuffed animals, and dozens of boxed toys are scattered among the rows of folding tables, ready for the tiny, eager hands expected Saturday.
Santa s workshop might look something like this, but don t credit elves for such handiwork.
Volunteers in Perrysburg Township are organizing the goodies for Operation Bread Basket, an annual collection to assist local families in need. The stockpile will be offered to 100 previously named families from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the township offices, 26609 Lime City Rd.
Behind the effort are volunteers from the Perrysburg Township police and fire departments and the Perrysburg Christians United, a nonprofit collective of about a dozen local churches.
The operation began in the mid-1970s when the late Perrysburg Township Police Chief Cloyce McGiffin rallied patrol officers to help a few hungry families for the winter holidays, volunteer firefighter Bob Warnimont said. Chief McGiffin died in April, 1999.
Operation Bread Basket was borne of that idea and has expanded to include a monthly food giveaway at the township offices, Mr. Warnimont said.
We see a lot of new faces, a lot of people down on their luck, and this is the way we help them out, he said. Next year, if it picks up for them, they come back and donate.
All families Saturday will receive a fresh ham, refrigerator staples such as milk, butter, and eggs, and nonperishable cupboard necessities. Donated clothing, home goods, and toys also will be up for grabs.
Donations are being accepted at the township offices, and toys especially are needed, police dispatcher Annie Herman-Alrabaya said. She worried that the toy stock is too thin for the 150 children on the Operation s gift list.
Most years, each child is given two toys. Volunteers hope there are enough toys to give even one toy to each, Mrs. Herman-Alrabaya said, because donation boxes at area businesses have been empty for weeks.
It s really bad, she said of the toy collection.
She guesses the economy s downward spiral may prevent some donors from being quite so generous.
I m worried, but we ll do it, she said. If you need help, that s what we re going to try to do, we re going to help you.