The generosity of the Chillicothe community is evident this holiday season with two local charities – Operation Help and Food for the Needy – receiving significant donations to assist their missions of helping people in need.

The generosity of the Chillicothe community is evident this holiday season with two local charities – Operation Help and Food for the Needy – receiving significant donations to assist their missions of helping people in need. One large fundraising effort for Operation Help is the holiday greeting card published annually by the Constitution-Tribune. As of Thursday morning, the 2016 greeting card had raised $9,774.53 in monetary donations that will be given directly to Operation Help. The card is published on pages 6 and 7 of today’s C-T. The Giant Greeting Card was introduced in 1996 as a way to raise funds for Operation Help and is published annually. The project gives people the opportunity to make a donation of at least $1, and by doing so, the donor gets his or her name printed on the greeting card. While the minimum donation is $1, many community members’ donations have exceeded that amount... Donors giving checks up to $2,000. “The generosity this holiday season has been outstanding,” said C-T News Editor Catherine Ripley. “We live in a wonderful community full of people who genuinely care about their neighbors and who willingly step forward to help those in need.” The deadline for the greeting card was Monday, however, donations were still coming in as of Thursday morning. Donations can still be made to Operation Help. Although it is too late to be included on the Giant Greeting Card, all donations coming in after the deadline will be forwarded to Operation Help. Operation Help provides assistance to people going through tough financial times. Help may come in the form of paying rent, utilities, gas or medical bills. The program is organized by the Chillicothe Ministerial Alliance and is operated out of First Christian Church. Another seasonal share drive is the Constitution-Tribune’s 33rd annual Food for the Needy program through which non-perishable food items are donated to the Salvation Army for distribution to people in need. Monetary donations are used to buy meat and produce. Food boxes have been in place at Hy-Vee Food Store, Sliced Bread  Market and Wal-Mart since before Thanksgiving, and numerous clubs and organizations have coordinated food drives for this effort. The food bins will remain in place through Jan. 1. As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 6,000 food items had been donated through the Food for the Needy share drive, and $1,200 in monetary donations had been given. The largest single food donation came from Sliced Bread Market, in the amount of more than $3,200 in food items donated. The Salvation Army distributed food and toys for 80 families in Chillicothe and Trenton this week. “Not only were we able to provide food to the 80 families, but also to those that have come in who were in a crisis and needed immediate help,” said Lt. Shannon Forney, of the Salvation Army Corps office. The food remaining after this week’s Christmas food distribution and the food that will be collected in the coming days through the red boxes will be used over the next several months for the elderly, disabled and families who have fallen on hard times. “The generosity that the community has shown through their giving is a way to bring everyone closer in the community this holiday season,” Forney said. “It has been a great witness of selflessness, compassion and unity in Chillicothe.” As of Wednesday, the Salvation Army holiday mail appeal is at $23,000 and its red kettle campaign is at $18,000. The mail appeal is up from previous years, so far; however, the dollar amount being donated through the red kettles is down, Forney said. The last day for the kettles is this Saturday (Christmas Eve), and the Christmas mail appeal continues through January 1. Donors will still be able to donate online through the end of January.