Needy Basket stays busy

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In its 70th year, the Tipp City Needy Basket program is as busy as ever.

Preparations are well under way for the annual Christmas Basket project conducted by the volunteer organization.

“We have gotten a lot of support this year from the community with food and with toys,” said Jim Sommer, Needy Basket coordinator.

The community-based food program is for residents of Tipp City, Monroe Twp. and Bethel Twp., Miami County. Plans are being made to accommodate 230 families with the Needy Basket offerings this year.

Volunteer drivers will deliver the baskets containing ingredients for a traditional holiday meal along with toys the morning of Dec. 17. Smaller families receive ham or turkey breast while larger families receive a frozen turkey with the meal.

Recipients also receive clothing vouchers from the Clothesline new and nearly new clothing store in Tipp City.

The project for 60 years was housed at the American Legion in Tipp City before moving to a building on South Fifth Street in 2006.

Although Needy Basket organizers thought it wouldn’t happen, the building’s space is being utilized fully.

Countless volunteers have helped make the Needy Basket project a success year after year.

“A lot of people have come and gone through the organization over the years,” Sommer said.

He emphasized Needy Basket is run entirely by volunteers, who are part of the secret to its success.

“It is the generosity of the community in supporting us and the great effort of volunteers who support us,” he said.

The “pay” for volunteers is knowing someone is being helped.

“We see some families who have told us they couldn’t afford to buy kids toys that year and, without us, they wouldn’t have gotten any,” Sommer said. “That has to make you feel good.”

Requests for baskets have gone up every year since 2008, with a significant increase seen as the recession arrived, he said.

The Needy Basket program operates year-round, offering an emergency food program.

Anyone with questions about the programs, needing assistance or wanting to make donations can stop by Needy Basket at 330 S. Fifth St. during open hours Monday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to noon; Wednesday, 3-5 p.m.; and Friday, 3-5:30 p.m. Donations can be mailed to 330 S. Fifth St., Tipp City, 45371.

The phone number is 937-667-1977.

Assistance is available for those meet residency and income guidelines.