Project Grinch Dust dinner supports local families

Project Grinch Dust dinner supports local families

Image Credit: File

Families temporarily housed at Friends of the Homeless Shelter in New Philadelphia find an extra hurdle at Christmastime — how to give their children a nice holiday without adequate funds for the basics.

Project Grinch Dust has helped to overcome this hurdle, beginning 12 years ago when founder Kim Fincher started the organization after receiving Christmas kindness when her family needed it most.

Today, Fincher and Project Grinch Dust partner Ashley Bryant have seen their charitable efforts expand beyond the shelter, helping other organizations and families in need. The project literature said they began by wanting to show kids at the shelter there was still magic in Christmas.

“It really has grown and grown each year,” Bryant said. “We now help Domestic Violence Shelter, Under the Shade, Harbor House and local families in the community. We are always looking for families to help.

“The cool thing is that kids get to make a wish list. They can choose something in the $50-$100 range they would like to have and also in the $25 range. They almost always get the things they ask for. They get clothing they might need also — usually two outfits or one outfit and a coat. We usually spend about $200 per child.”

Bryant and Fincher do the shopping and assemble the gift packages themselves.

Project Grinch Dust, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is funded by the efforts of Fincher and Bryant, who put together several fundraisers each year.

A dinner is coming up Nov. 6 at St. Peter’s Church, 3640 Oldtown Valley Road in New Philadelphia. For a $10 donation, the pickup-only dinner includes pulled-pork sandwiches, cheesy potatoes, baked beans and dessert. Call or text Marcy Stein at 330-285-6716 for information. The dinner is from 4-6 p.m.

What Bryant described as a hybrid quarter auction fundraiser is set for Nov. 14. A donation of $35 gets an all-in paddle, enabling participation in person or virtually via the group’s Facebook livestream. A donation of $5 will bring donors a traditional paddle and the chance to win in person at the Harvest Barn in Sugarcreek. Prizes include gift cards, baskets and other items.

Because needs change from year to year, Project Grinch Dust helps varying numbers of families.

Bryant said, “One year it might be 20 kids; the next it could be 60. I’ve been helping for six years, and it’s usually around 40-50 children.”

The organization also has helped families during the pandemic and helped children with needed school supplies this year.

As part of the Christmas assistance, shelter families also are treated to a party with visits from Santa and the Grinch, complete with dinner.

“We have help putting together the fundraisers,” Bryant said, “but otherwise it’s just Kim and me. People in the community can help best by contributing through our fundraisers or by making an outright donation.”

Bryant said Friends of the Homeless Shelter is very supportive of their efforts, but the big payoff is seeing the faces of children who would otherwise have a very meager Christmas.

“Kids love it, of course. Their faces light right up when they see their presents. And their parents are clearly so happy that the children get to have something when they might not have otherwise. It makes it very worthwhile,” Bryant said.