LIMA — Stacy knew participating in the Adopt a Stocking campaign would help her family through a rough year.
She just never expected something that would never fit in a stocking, a clothes dryer, would come to her home.
“I just wanted to get mine fixed,” said Stacy, whose name has been changed to protect her family’s privacy. “I can’t believe someone donated a dryer. That’s so generous.”
Her story featuring her partner, Bill, and two children, Levi, 9, and Ronald, 7, appeared in The Lima News on Dec. 21. It was one of 23 profiles published since Thanksgiving of people going through a rough time who wouldn’t be able to provide a good Christmas to their loved ones.
The generosity of the community raised $9,655 for the Adopt a Stocking fund, a partnership between the Salvation Army and The Lima News. That’s down slightly from last year’s tally of $9,877, although people can continue to donate to the fund through the end of the year.
Those figures don’t include direct gifts, such as clothing, boots, detergent or, in Stacy’s case, a clothes dryer. The Salvation Army has been busy bringing people’s specific requests in stories to them.
“There is definitely a camaraderie in the community,” said Major Debbie Stacy, of the Salvation Army. “They love to support one another. It’s a very giving community.”
Many of the stories hit close to home for readers. The most-read story on LimaOhio.com involved a young family derailed by COVID-19, with the mother's long stay putting the family behind financially while her fiance took time off work to care for the children. Another popular story detailed a dad’s prosperous life upended by divorce, heart issues and less work in the construction field. Yet another talked about a hairdresser’s struggles caring for her four children once the pandemic hit.
Readers’ generosity stunned Stacy, Bill and their family. Bill had been the victim of an assault after confronting vandals who broke windows at their home. The injuries required hip surgery and kept him from working.
Her first reaction to the dryer donation, she said, was, “You’ve got to be kidding us,” when the Salvation Army called her. Sure enough, a few minutes later, a man brought a replacement dryer to her and helped bring it into her home.
“It makes you realize there are really good people out there,” she said. “The violence and everything overshadows all the good that’s out there. Still, there are a lot of good people out there, helping people out who need help.”
The Salvation Army sees the needs of the community throughout the year, but it’s encouraging to see how people help each other when they need it, the Salvation Army’s Stacy said.
“People find a way to give. That’s encouraging to us,” she said. “Whatever it takes, however it happens, they make it happen. That’s the spirit of Christmas, and it’s definitely alive in Lima.”