(Editor’s Note: The annual Jackson Area Festivals and Events (JAFE) Joyful Christmas project was once again a major success in 2020 with many local children receiving Christmas gifts. JAFE Joyful Christmas organizers Dale and Wanda Whetsel submitted this statement to acknowledge the success of the project and thank the organizers and sponsors.)

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“JAFE Joyful Christmas would like to thank all our sponsors for making this year’s toy drive a huge success. JAFE Joyful Christmas is an annual project of JAFE. Money is raised year-long by JAFE Jeepin’ for Joy. Thanks to Jason Gillum and Jeff Bryant and their committee for working year-long to raise money and sponsor Jeepin’ for Joy. Local business, individuals, and organizations support our project by giving monetary donations, toys, clothing and shoes.

“Each elementary school in Jackson County selects students to participate. Teachers collect details such as clothing and shoe sizes, desired toys and give the information to our JAFE team. Shoppers then purchase the items and assemble each student's gifts. This year we served over 500 students and siblings.

“We would like to thank our shoppers for volunteering and making many children’s Christmas morning special. Thanks to the following individuals: Dale and Wanda Whetsel, George and Lisa Davis, Ron Carter and Mandy Burge, Jason and Kelly Crabtree, Tyler Midkiff, and Jennifer Burkholder.

“A special thank you to our local business, churches, and individuals for your monetary donations, clothing, shoes and toys: Jackson Fire Department, Jackson Tractor Supply, McDonald’s, AK Ready Mix, Rapid Mortgage, Southern Ohio Smiles, Ohio Valley Bank, Lewis & Gillum Funeral Home, Toys 4 Tots, Stockmeister Companies, Richard Specht, Grant Mastin, Melissa Armstrong, and Liberty Church.

“A special thank you to Tackles for Shoes organizers Grant Mastin and his mom, Melissa Armstrong for donating 130 pairs of shoes to our project.

“Thanks to George Davis for donating space to store our items and gather to assemble each student’s packages.”

--JAFE Joyful Christmas Project Organizers

Dale and Wanda Whetsel