A Community Christmas gifts joy

Posted on December 30, 2022


In partnership with The Repository, every Monday, Stark Community Foundation highlights positive happenings in our community. Here’s to Good News Mondays!

Since 1969, A Community Christmas has been a staple in Stark County each December, providing holiday joy for local families in need. This year, more than 1,300 people had a brighter season because of the organization’s programs and donations from our community.

The all-volunteer organization coordinates the community’s efforts to provide Christmas assistance for needy individuals and families in Stark County. Through the generosity of local residents and businesses, families and individuals receive gifts, food and necessities. 

For A Community Christmas President Susan Hill, the organization has been part of her family’s holiday traditions for more than a decade. Starting as a volunteer, Hill went on to become a board member before transitioning to lead the nonprofit. 

“This work has been very close to my heart for a very long time, and it does a whole lot of good,” said Hill. “I am so grateful to be a part of such a great organization with such dedicated volunteers and board members. Around this time of year, it’s all hands on deck.”

Through its Adopt-a-Family program, families who apply earlier in the year are matched with donors who then shop according to the family members’ interests and clothing sizes. All gifts are collected at the Southeast Community Center and distributed to families a week before Christmas. This year, 209 families were “adopted” through the program. 

Additionally, its Christmas Giving Center program takes place at the Stark County Fairgrounds and served 344 other families this season. Donated toys from Toys-for-Tots donation drives were distributed to these families for their children, along with gift cards for their teenagers, grocery store vouchers, hats and gloves, toiletries, blankets, stuffed animals and household items like toilet paper and paper towels. 

A Community Christmas also supports the elderly in our community by gifting more than 300 grocery vouchers to senior citizens in 2022.

“After the last gifts are distributed each year, it’s always sort of a letdown when it’s over,” said Hill. “We all have such a good time working with each other and for the people who are so grateful. We are fortunate that so many people support us.”

The hard work of its volunteers and the generosity of donors are touching for many grateful recipients. While driving through the fairgrounds to pick up her Giving Center gifts, one recipient got out of her car, handed the volunteers a card of appreciation and told them, “I can’t thank you enough for all your help this year.” Another grandmother picking up gifts for her grandchildren stated, “I’m in awe of what you do.”

Learn more about the organization and its programs at www.acommunitychristmas.org.

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