Nicole Mandeville (left) educated Aubrey (white dress with bones) and her friends on kittens and other animals during Aubrey’s birthday party. Aubrey asked that attendees brings donations for the Humane Society to her birthday rather than gifts. (DHI Media/ File photo/ Kirsten Barnhart)
Nicole Mandeville (left) educated Aubrey (white dress with bones) and her friends on kittens and other animals during Aubrey’s birthday party. Aubrey asked that attendees brings donations for the Humane Society to her birthday rather than gifts. (DHI Media/ File photo/ Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – Nearly every day The Times Bulletin receives a press release from schools, individuals, businesses, or organizations highlighting those who have donated to an organization in the community or volunteered their time for a good cause.

In 2017 we received stories such as Van Wert resident Trevor Ball who helped a man he saw by the side of the road in June. After speaking with the man, Ball learned that he was traveling from Maine to Mississippi and was searching for a job. After Ball shared the story on Facebook, one of his friends offered the man a job. After that, donations started pouring in. Ball collected clothing for the man and even donated a bike to him.

There was also the story of Aubrey Mandeville in September. For her 12th birthday, Mandeville had a pet themed party where she asked guests to bring donations for the Van Wert County Humane Society Shelter rather than gifts for her. Mandeville stated she realized the didn’t use the gifts that she was given and that she wanted to give back to the shelter dogs and cats in need instead.

On Sept. 29, the United Way of Van Wert County held its 19th annual Day of Caring. After a record setting event in 2016, expectations were set high and the community did not disappoint. A new record setting 38,000 items were collected. The blood drive collected over 180 units of blood to replenish local blood bank counts. Schools, local businesses, and individuals all helped to make the 19th annual Day of Caring a huge success.

In November, The Times Bulletin was contacted and given information about Larry Mengerink who saw a garden that was littered with weeds; Mengerink took matters into his own hands. He cleaned up the blighted property as a way to make the city look more appealing and stated that rather than complaining that something needed done, he decided to do it himself.

Van Wert Citizens show their philanthropy all year long, but there is no doubt that December holds some of the biggest acts of kindness.

Each year the Wetzel Motorcycle Club shops for children in need during Christmastime. This year the group was able to buy for nearly 200 children in need. Volunteers met at Walmart on a Saturday night to purchase the toys. Year-round, Wetzel MC hosts fundraisers to collect money for their annual toy run. Not only do they provide children with a Christmas, but they support various youth activities throughout the rest of the year as well.

Another group that helps give children gifts during Christmas is the Van Wert County Sheriff’s office who hold their Christmas with Kids program each year. Local donors and businesses donate to the program that allows local children to shop with the officers for wants and needs.

While it is impossible to list every single way citizens, businesses, and organizations gave back in 2017, it is evident that Van Wert is a community full of good people willing to help those in need. This summary of some of those stories does not even begin to do justice to the amount of good deeds, donations, and voluntarism that happened in 2017.