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The Arc Secret Christmas Project

It's a very merry Christmas for people with disabilities.

"The Secret Christmas Project of The Arc of the Mid-Ohio Valley has been happening for a lot of years and we're very fortunate to be able to help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities," says executive director Christine Smith.

From individual wish lists to sponsoring individuals to buying gifts and baking cookies, some special Santas are here in our own backyard.

"We're thrilled to have all the support from the community that we do and there's multiple ways folks can get involved each year," Smith says.

Younger ones often want games and clothing, while basic essentials make all the difference for others.

"Since they have such a limited discretionary income they actually request toiletries and things like that on their wish list," Smith says. "So this Secret Christmas Project is more than them just getting something nice, sometimes they actually request items that are needed for their independent living."

Tina Tanner agrees...

"I get clothes every year, socks, whatever else I need -- and now I get towels and washrags and stuff too," Tanner says.

After nineteen years with Secret Christmas, she counts it up there with a great present in her life.

"If I didn't have the Secret Christmas and stuff like that I would have to have my family help out all the time and stuff like that," Tanner says. "Sometimes they do when I need help they're able to help me, but it's best if I do it on my own."

Those in the most need are not forgotten and get a special care package at the most festive time of year.

"One of the reasons that I love this project so much is not only as the director of The Arc, but as the parent of a child with disabilities it just makes me feel so much better being to sponsor and help those that I know may not be able to receive any other Christmas gifts," Smith says.


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