What started well over 30 years ago as a way to get food to the needy families in Fulton County at the holiday season, has grown into a year-round, three-branch outreach for families who struggle.

The Holiday Give-Away  

The biggest component of Fulton County Christmas Cheer is the holiday give-away traditionally held at the Jr. Fair building of the Fulton County Fairgrounds, near Wauseon, Ohio.   Hundreds of volunteers work in early December to gather, sort and stock goods to fill the make-shift store.   Then on two appointed days, families who have pre-registered to participate, are invited to the fairgrounds where they shop for the foods, toiletries and brand new toys their household would most appreciate.

The volunteers of this county-wide program are especially proud of the dignity of choice involved in the give-away.  Because it’s also about building relationships, a volunteer shopper accompanies the eligible families as they make their way through the store.  Phone coordinator of the Christmas portion of Fulton County Christmas Cheer  - Brenda at 419-446-2122.    Call her for questions on where and what.

The Fulton County Christmas Cheer Holiday Give-Away will be the week of December 3, 2018.  
Set up, sorting and stocking will be done on December 3 & 4.  
Distribution will be on December 5 & 6.

Transportation 

It’s hard to live in a rural area and to be without reliable transportation.  Fulton County Christmas Cheer accepts good running used cars, trucks and vans, and makes them available to families in need.  Sometimes a car valued at 5-6 thousand dollars is donated and Cheer sells that vehicle to buy two or three go-to-work cars.  Other times a safe, but well-worn vehicle is given and a family can use that to safely transport their families. Yes, donation slips are offered based on the Kelly Blue book value. 
Cars, Trucks or Vans:  Call Cecily when you’re considering a donation of transportation.  Obviously, it’s unwise to give away to a family in need a vehicle that is nickel-and -diming you to death. But a lot of miles and a battered exterior does not deter those on bikes or walking! 
In addition, many families who do have wheels don’t have the funds to repair their vehicles.  Christmas Cheer works with generous area garages and funds tires, alternators, fuel pumps and such things usually in partnership with the family in need.  Depending on the situation, sometimes we go halves or work out a payment plan.  It’s based on several factors including common sense and the track record of the  family making the request.

It isn’t a matter of who is next in line to get a vehicle.  The transportation component works on common sense.  A vehicle with life, but one that needs a screwdriver to do this and a wrench to do that, is usually not suited for a young mother, but may be fine for a mechanical fella’ who just needs to get to and from work.  On the other hand, a working mother would be matched with an available, appropriate vehicle sooner than a non-working mother.   

Furniture and Appliance Recycling Program

A number of years ago a very active used furniture and appliance program needed an umbrella to cover their operation.   Fulton County Christmas Cheer was the perfect match because the same people who need help at the holidays need refrigerators, beds and microwaves throughout the year.   Volunteers pick up used washers, dryers, refrigerators etc and then deliver them to families who have called expressing a need.  The requests far out number the donations, but the men continue to bring smiles to elderly folks sleeping on the floor, to a young mother using a foam cooler to keep her family’s food cold and to a child so hoping to have a Christmas tree.   We don’t want garage sale junk, but we always have people looking for spatulas, mixing bowls, measuring cups, pot and pans, bedding, and towels.  
The rule is, “If it would be good enough and clean enough for someone you love, donate it.  If not, don’t call us, just throw it away.”