When students and staff of the Big Walnut Local School District talk about a family Christmas they don’t just mean their families at home, they mean the entire Big Walnut community.
Each year the school district’s Administrative Services Department organizes a Big Walnut Christmas Wish program, sponsoring local families in need, providing them with items on their Christmas wish list.
Linda Klamfoth, who works in Administrative Services, said this year 108 Big Walnut area families were served, with district school buildings involved, in addition to local churches, businesses, organizations, and individuals pitching in to make certain area families had the best Christmas possible.
Klamfoth said Big Walnut students and staff from all buildings participated in this year’s effort. Typical was the participation of students from Big Walnut High School where six families were sponsored as a combined effort of the National Honor Society, Student Council, the French Club, the Leo Club and a toy drive sponsored by members of the high school football team.
It is not just the school district that pitches in to help out. Klamfoth said this year families were sponsored by Sunbury United Methodist Church, Side-By-Side, First Baptist Church of Sunbury, American Showa, the Genoa Township Fire Department, Sunbury Church of the Nazarene, Sunbury Christian Church, Anthony Dental, Noah’s Ark Learning Center, Sunbury Pointe Dental, and Renick Orthodontics.
“It really is amazing how this community steps forward and helps fill the need,” Klamfoth said. “I’ve had a couple of families tell me if it wasn’t for this program they wouldn’t have had a Christmas. One family member told me that Big Walnut created a Christmas miracle.”
Klamfoth said lending a helping hand is part of the Big Walnut-area culture; that area folks don’t think twice about responding to their neighbor’s need — they just roll up their sleeves and do it.
“It’s the Big Walnut way,” Klamfoth said. “If it wasn’t for the people who open their hearts and gave there are families in our community that would not have a Christmas. That speaks to the integrity of the Big Walnut community.”
Klamfoth said individuals, schools, and organizations take on a lot when sponsoring a family. She said there is an average of four children in each of this year’s 108 sponsored families.
“These families, they’re truly in need,” Klamfoth said. “You can see it when folks come in to pick up their gifts. There are lots of tears and lots of hugs. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone for making the Big Walnut Christmas Wish a success.”
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.