Giving is year-round calling


WILMINGTON — “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz said, “Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.”

Many local groups and individuals are doing just that this holiday season — whether that comes in the form of donating spare change or taking supplies to people affected by tragedy — and their work will carry on long after the holiday season ends.

Tragedy struck many places during 2016, including in Gatlinburg when a wildfire struck the Tennessee town. The fire, allegedly started by two teens, forced more than 14,000 people to evacuate as they lost much of their belongings.

Kelly Engle-Thompson and others decided to venture down and help those in need.

“A lot of people have a connection down there and I felt that if we could help people down there we should,” said Engle-Thompson.

The former Red Cross member formed a group of people to travel down and help those in need. She put the call out to people to help collect items — and they received more than anticipated.

“We were getting donations from not only Wilmington but from Greene and Clark County,” said Engle-Thompson. “It was amazing. We didn’t expect this much.”

Engle-Thompson and her group received so much that they stored and organized their donations at the Chester Friends Meeting on Gurneyville Road. She attributes this mass of goodwill to Wilmington’s good nature in addition to it being the holiday season.

Among the items she collected were plastic totes, duct tape, Visa and Kroger gift cards, new socks, hats, gloves, towels, and coats. They loaded up the camper and arrived at Gatlinburg in the wee hours of the morning. The group is planning a second trip in January.

If you follow the star on top of Buckley Brothers you’ll find another example of Wilmington’s goodwill toward men with the sign for their drive-thru asking for coats and toys. Over the past three years, they’ve been collecting coats and toys to donate; manager Randy Pinkerton pitched the idea to Mark Buckley and the drive has been going ever since.

“(Giving back) is a real good feeling,” said Pinkerton. “I come from a giving family and anytime we’d feel blessed, we’d bless someone else.”

Pinkerton recalled a time that his mother knitted over 300 quilts for children with cancer.

The toys and clothes they gather will be given to Your Father’s Kitchen and, according to Pinkerton, if they have enough they’ll then go to churches in the area that may need it.

But of course, these aren’t the only people in the area who are helping out those in need. Wilmington Friends Meeting and St. Columbkille Catholic Church together are helping out Hope House, an emergency drop-in shelter for homeless women and children.

St. Columbkille is also helping Angels Awaiting Maternity House and Aid to Infrastructure, and the Friends Meeting was set to use the offerings collected at their Christmas Eve service to buy food for their food pantry.

Newly appointed council member BillLiermann is also getting into the spirit when he donated one month’s salary to the park fund at the last council meeting. Liermann decided to this recalling all the good times he and his family had at the park watching the kids play recreation sports.

“Our parks reflect our quality of life,” said Liermann, “I feel we as leaders need to step up and demonstrate leadership by giving back to the parks. At the very least, Lori (Williams) can use this money to help with matching funds for the many grants that she applies for.”

This only scratches the surface of the goodwill the citizens of Clinton County have shown this holiday season. Whether it’s gathering food and clothing for the less fortunate or giving spare change in a donation bucket, there’s barely a humbug around. photo

By John Hamilton

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Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

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