County employees reach out to community

OSCEOLA COUNTY — It is sometimes easier to give than it is to receive, and yet, according to James Sims, Osceola County prosecutor, once you have seen need, it is not hard to want to help.

County employees lived that belief this Christmas season.

Many shared they had been on both sides of the giving and the receiving in past years, and when the prosecutor’s office had an opportunity to help suggest a Christmas party theme, Sims said stepped up to reach out.

“We suggested that maybe we could give back to the community in a really good way,” he said. “We were giving back to those who give us a paycheck.”

The idea was quickly adopted because there are so many people throughout the county who really need some help this Christmas, he said.

The idea was planted, quickly took seed and grew beyond anyone’s expectations.

“County Christmas party this year was a celebration of all our people who live here, and with a nine or ten percent unemployment rate, there are a lot of them who need some help this year,” he explained. “We could be Santa without a suit.”

And they were.

Sims said he was thrilled to see the response. The outreach touched many families in one way or another. There was food and money donated to the food pantries. He explained that so many times now, the food pantries have far more people needing food than they have food, and it’s not a just at Christmas sort of thing.

He said county employees stepped up to the plate and made sure there was money and food to help with Christmas dinners, and more.

They also brought hats and gloves and mittens, socks and scarves. These were donated to various schools throughout the county to help those children and their families, and similar gifts were made available for the elderly throughout the county.

There also was a plan in place to help with needs at the county animal shelter. That idea brought in $320 to help the shelter meet the needs for animals brought there over the winter months. Sims said the money could be used for such things as extra food or even veterinary expenses in some instances.

The goal was to look for need and help to meet it. Sims and others believe that goal certainly was met, including Mary Lou Proefrock who picked up many of the items just before Christmas and helped with the distribution to meet the needs beforehand.

She said it was amazing to see how this entire area responds to the needs of its people, and this donation by the county employees needs to be commended for helping so many.

“Don’t forget to tell them thank you,” she reminded.