Making spirits bright

MIAMI COUNTY — Partners in Hope’s annual Christmas Shop program may be a little different this year due to COVID-19, but it hasn’t slowed the giving spirit of the staff and the surrounding community.

Christmas Shop, Caregivers and volunteer coordinator Tina Budde said generosity continues to pour in from community members. Blue buckets for toy or gift donations can also be found throughout Troy businesses, restaurants and store fronts through the weekend.

Budde said donations such as cash or gift cards are still being accepted to finish out the season of giving for those most in need — including seniors citizens.

“The gift cards we can shop for families and some families are OK with gift cards so they can get exactly the right size of what they need,” Budde said.

Last year, Partners in Hope and other local organizations assisted 242 children and 105 families. Budde said she didn’t have a firm figure of how many they would be assisting this year because the need continues to trickle into the organization.

Budde shared how 2020 is the second year for the organization to bring Christmas cheer to local seniors, most of whom utilize the organization’s senior transportation program. Last year the Christmas program helped 28 seniors and their goal this year is to help 60 seniors who are shut-in and even more isolated due to the pandemic.

“When I was helping with the caregiver program and senior transportation I would go out to their homes and I would see what little they had. Of course, they are all living off Social Security. You would drive with them and they would share how they didn’t have family or if they did, they all lived out of town. Now with COVID, it’s even more isolating,” Budde said. “All of our drivers fall in love with them. It’s our way to love on them and let them know we care.”

As Budde was sharing how the program has powered through pandemic challenges, a donation of toys arrived on the back step of the Partners in Hope building.

Instead of physically shopping for gifts, this year parents will be picking items from an online “catalog” and Partners in Hope will have all their selections ready for no contact pick-up.

“It’ll be safe for everybody, our volunteers and our families. They’ll still be able to pick out their own gifts and we still give out the toiletry bags,” she said.

Parents in return donate $10 per child, which is then returned back to the community to keep the spirit of giving going.

Budde shared how other community organizations have chipped in to help those in need. For example, Altrusa is donating books for children for their Christmas bags. Businesses also helped spread the word through social media.

If you would like to donate gift cards or funds for the Christmas Shop program, mail or drop off your gift to Partners in Hope, 180 E. Race St., Troy, OH 45373. There is a mail slot on the door for after-hours drop-off. The organization’s headquarters is located behind the U.S. Post Office in Troy. Donations can also be accepted online through Partners in Hope website at