Veterans playing Santa

HARRISON COUNTY’S American Legions have joined with the community in playing Santa to give a Merry Christmas to children who might otherwise go without.

The Cadiz, Scio and Hopedale Legions have joined the Share a Christmas Project organized by Help Me Grow. Legions have sent their bus to various schools and business locations to accept donations.

During the past month and a half they have amassed a collection of 2,000 new and gently used toys through donations, now collected in the Hopedale Legion.

“That’s a lot of toys to make a lot of kids happy,” said Ed Long, Cadiz American Legion.

More than 300 children from infants to 16-year-olds will receive gifts. The last day for donations is Dec. 14. On Dec. 16, parents will visit the Legion to pick out toys. Each child could receive several toys. There are also more expensive items. Many of the toys were purchased through Toys for Tots, which offered a match for funds raised.

“It’ll make a special Christmas for kids in our county,” said Dirk Harkins, Hopedale Legion, adding that the generosity has been stunning. “We’re overwhelmed by what we’ve see from the communities.”

They have enjoyed the support of businesses, schools and significant contributions from individuals. The Hopedale Sportsman’s Club was among the groups that held an event with all proceeds going to the project.

“It involves a lot of individuals,” Long said.

Long added that the Legions plan to make the collection an annual project and to increase it’s scope.

“We’re here for the children,” Long said. “Children and youth are one of the four pillars of the American Legion.”

Rick Brown, Hopedale Legion, added that the Legion families have lent their help at all levels, from commanders to Auxiliary and Sons of the Legion.

“We’re still serving God and country,” he said.

For more information, call Help Me Grow office in Cadiz at (740) 942-2622.

DeFrank may be reached at