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Sara Shininger, Sponsor-A-Family program coordinator is with the Spruce Family, (l-r), dad Kris, mom Holly, daughter Peppermint, son Ralphie, baby Rudolph. (MP Photo/Colleen Lockhart)

By Colleen Lockhart

For the past 15 years, the employees of LANXESS Corporation, Rhein Chemie Additives Business in Chardon have been part of the Christmas spirit that helps make Geauga County Job and Family Services Sponsor-A-Family program a success. A friendly competition for bragging rights between Plant 1 and Plant 2 has brought a creative touch to their holiday decorations this year.

The employees at Plant 2 created an entire tree from scarves, gloves, hats and other items that adorn the displayed trees. Food from their food drive will be donated to help with food baskets. Jean Day at Rhein Chemie helps Geauga County Youth Center with money from employees who have paid $1 to wear jeans on Fridays throughout the year. At Christmas volunteer employees go shopping for the youth staying at the Center and visit on the day the gifts are delivered.

Sponsor-A-Family has been growing with the help from volunteers, businesses, churches, non-profits, schools and individuals for the past 45 years, according to program coordinator Sara Shininger. When the program was started by Ruth Carlton to assist low income families, 12 families were helped and now the program serves more than 1,600 people, all with 100 percent donated items. To volunteer today, package toys and food, or make deliveries on Dec. 20, contact Geauga County Job & Family Services, 440-285-9141 ext. 1263.

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