CLERMONT COUNTY, Ohio — Ollie Wever has made his list and checked it twice as he prepares to step in as Santa for dozens of children in Clermont County.
“Christmas is just one of those special times of year,” Wever said. “We know that there’s kids out there that, if we didn’t do this, they wouldn’t have Christmas presents.”
In his role as a director of digital operations with GE in Cincinnati, Wever helps organize the company’s support for Clermont County’s Community Toy Chest. He and his co-workers are sponsoring 55 children this year and have already purchased and wrapped presents for all of them.
“They’re going to give a kid a smile on Christmas that they probably wouldn’t have,” Wever said. “That’s really it, right? That’s what it’s all about.”
Clermont County Children’s Protective Services leads the toy drive every year. It connects children in foster care or other difficult situations to sponsors who purchase gifts or other items the kids and their family might need.
“Seeing the sparkle in a child’s eye and the wonderful delight that they have is definitely brighter than the Christmas lights,” Sanna Gast, coordinator for the Clermont County Community Toy Chest, said.
Gast says the program is vital for children and families in need as a way to reduce some of the financial stresses associated with the holiday season.
“They can enjoy the holiday,” Gast said. “If it wasn’t for our sponsors and the community that come together for our children here in Clermont County, many children would not have Christmas.
This year, Gast is planning to support more than 350 children across Clermont County. And though the cubicles and hallways in Children’s Protective Services are quite literally lined with presents, she says they are always looking for more support from the community.
“Sponsors can either sponsor a child, they can donate new toys [or] they can give monetary donations,” Gast said.
Anyone interested in helping out should contact Gast directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. The agency says it will be looking for sponsors up until December 23.