Jefferson and St. John’s upperclassmen delivered the gifts from the Delphos Community Christmas Project. (DHI Media/Nancy Spencer)
Jefferson and St. John’s upperclassmen delivered the gifts from the Delphos Community Christmas Project. (DHI Media/Nancy Spencer)
DELPHOS — COVID couldn’t dampen the Christmas spirit in Delphos.

“Our donations were up a little this year so we were able to do a few extra things, ” Delphos Community Christmas Project Director Edna Fischer said. Tuesday. “We bought three bay cribs, mattresses and bedding; six other beds; and tons of bed pillows.”

Fischer has always remarked how she finds it troubling that so many children don’t have beds.

Cash donations totaled $51,000, which doesn’t include the Angel Tree donations and other efforts like Knippen Chrysler Dodge Jeep’s, school groups and Kiwanis toy drives, which bring in hundreds of toys for all ages. There were also 22 bicycles donated, all new.

“I know that sounds like a lot of money and stuff, but when you consider we bought for 292 children in 115 families, it doesn’t go that far,” Fischer said. “We were also able to give gift cards for food to each family.”

Each family also received a bag of apples, a bag of oranges and a bag of candy.

One continuing need for local children is proper footwear. The Phi Delta Sorority has made it its mission to make sure Delphos children ages 5-12 have shoes and donate nearly 300 pair a year to the project. The money for the shoes comes from fundraisers, which were not held this year due to COVID, however; the sorority was still able to provides 98 gift cards for younger and older children to purchase shoes. The project also provided 106 certificates for shoes.

What would the holidays be without a Christmas tree? Thankfully, many served by the project don’t know. Sixteen used Christmas trees — complete with lights and ornaments — were offered to families in the project this year.

The project solicits local high schoolers, who deliver the gifts on the last day of school before Christmas break. They also delivered 167 fruit places, up 15 from last year.

Those who picked up their items, did so in a minimal-contact drive through due to COVID.

Recipients are very grateful for the help at a stressful time of year for those whose purse strings are a little light. Fischer always receives thank-you notes and texts. As always, Fischer said the project is thankful for all donations of money, time and talent.

“The whole community comes together to make sure every child in Delphos has a nice Christmas,” Fischer said.

Fischer noted a happy coincidence that happened during the gathering of the items for the children.

“Tina Link bought a pair of SpongeBob pajamas by mistake so she put them on the bench in the staging area and another shopper came along and said they were just what she needed,” Fischer said. “Link also gets asked a lot of questions while she’s shopping for children’s gifts. She thinks it’s because people see her there so often they think she works there.”

Items on many lists this year included slime, LOL dolls, LOL items and unicorns.

“We have to Google some of these things every year so we know what they are talking about,” Fischer said.

The closeout meeting for this year’s project was held Tuesday evening. The group will reconvene in October to start planning for this Christmas.