Basket Fund collects $12,655

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By Chris Sardelli

Lancaster County residents and businesses are proving it’s going to take more than a tough economy to stop them from giving.

Donations have surpassed last year’s total just three weeks into the Ward Faulkenberry Memorial Christmas Basket fund.

The fund, organized this year by HOPE in Lancaster, has collected $5,514 since Dec. 11, bringing the total amount collected this year to $12,665.

The total amount collected in 2007 was $9,250.

The drive is resembling the 2001 drive, which then collected a similar amount the week before Christmas. The fund eventually topped $15,000 that year.

Elaine Adkins, executive director of HOPE, is delighted at the overwhelming response to the 2008 drive.  As she tallied this week’s donations, more contributions were coming in the door.

“It’s phenomenal,” she said. “People are being so generous, especially with the way the economy is. People realize the need in Lancaster.”

HOPE, a charitable organization which stands for Helping Other People Effectively, recently took on the fund from the local office of the American Red Cross, which organized the fund for the past five years.

The fund is named after the late Ward Faulkenberry, a former athletics officer and commander of American Legion Post No. 31, who founded the drive 49 years ago.

The fund provides food vouchers or grocery store gift cards for local families during the holidays.

HOPE has already begun buying gift cards and has distributed some to both the Department of Social Services and the Lancaster County Council on Aging. HOPE expects to distribute gift cards to Christian Services by the end of the week.

HOPE will divide the donations among the groups based on the amounts each organization received last year. Remaining funds will be divided according to need.

Adkins was worried that a late start in collecting for the drive this year would hurt the Christmas Basket.

But from the comments she’s heard from residents, many are contributing even more this year for fear the fund would disappear.

“I was afraid what we might get, but I’m so proud of our community,” she said. “People didn’t want to see the (Christmas Basket) go away and they have really showed their support.”

To donate to the fund, make checks out to “Christmas Basket Fund” and send to Christmas Basket Fund, P.O. Box 166, Lancaster, SC 29721, or drop monetary donations off at the offices of The Lancaster News, 701 N. White St.

Donations will be accepted through Dec. 24.

For details, call HOPE in Lancaster at (803) 286-4673.

The donors Dec. 11 through Thursday are:

Janie Caskey SS Class Bethel Baptist Church, $25; anonymous, $100; Howard Crawford, $25; Maxie and Valda Herring, $50; anonymous, $25; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Thompson, $50; Mr. and Mrs. John Avinger, in memory of friends and departed loved ones, $250; James Edward Baker, in memory of J.B. and Kittie Baker, $25; Hartley Funeral Home, $200; Mr. and Mrs. Richard Chandler, in honor of Mike and Pat Scruggs, $100; Mr. and Mrs. Richard Chandler, in honor of “The Whoopers” on Lake Wateree, $100; Mr. and Mrs. C.B. Mathis, $50; Bill and Jan Sims, $100; Bill and Alene Vincent, in memory of David Vincent, $25; Beverly Carter, $50; Wade Hinson, $50; Au Courant Book Club, $50; Mr. and Mrs. Don Scott, $50; Rebecca Backues Love, $40; PLC Sunday School Class, in memory of Ward Faulkenberry, $50; Chick and Charlie Harrell, in memory of Ward Faulkenberry, $25; Jim and Priscilla Deaton, in loving memory of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Deaton, $50; Johannes Tromp, $150; Polly Jackson, $25; Richard and Meg Townsend, in memory of Raymond Pierre Townsend, $100; Bob and Celia Featherstone, $100; in the name of Jesus, $25; Richard Hilton, in memory of Joyce Hilton,    $50; Judy and Michaela Bowers, $25; Young Adult Class, New Cut Presbyterian Church, $150; Hazel and Joe Hegler, in memory of P.H. “Buster” Hegler, $100; The Three Friends, $30; Hazel and Terry Robinson, in memory of June Taylor, $50; Hazel and Terry Robinson, in memory of Don Humphreys and June Taylor, $50; James Oliver Family, in memory of John and Myrtle Welsh, $25; Jimmy and Mary Oliver, in memory of Kevin Roddey, $25; anonymous, $100; Mary Harrison Belk, $25; Nannie Cousar Circle Shiloh ARP Church, $200; Carol Nims, in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Nims, $25; Carol Nims, in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Curtis Mobley, $25; Margaret Tucker, $25; Bettie Mobley, in memory of George J. Mobley, $15; Bill and Cathy Ardrey and family, in memory of Dr. Amanda Burt, $100; Patricia Knezevich, $50; Oakridge Women of the Church, $100; Billy and Nancy Taylor, $100; John and Merry Smyre, $100; Mike and Susan Autry, in memory of George Ammon and Woodrow Autry, $100; Good Samaritan SS Class, Immanuel Baptist Church, $50; Bowater “A” Shift, No. 3 Paper Machine, No. 3 Shipping, $128; Debra B. Rowell, in honor of Robert K. Folks, $100; Jack and Sara Griffin, in memory of Jacob Earnhardt, $25; Dean and Margie Stacks, $50; Betty and Robert Howie, $50; John and Audrey Hadvab, $50; Frances Collins, in memory of Glenn Collins, $25; Darby Clark, $25; Dr. and Mrs. W.K. Williams, $100; Frank and Betty Munn, $50; Mr. and Mrs. Coy Williams, $50; David McIsaac, in memory of Edie and Bruce McIsaac, $100; Spence Robinson Class Hopewell UMC, $101; Folks, Khoury & DeVenny, LLC Staff, in honor of Robert K. Folks, Coreen B. Khoury and T. Alston DeVenny, $210; Jim and Lucy Morton, in honor of HOPE and its staff and volunteers, $200; James B. and Jayne H. Kirk, in loving memory of James M and Ruth P. Kirk, $50; Anonymous, $25; Leroy Harley Class First Baptist Church, $50; Newsroom staff at The Lancaster News in honor of Barbara Rutledge, $50; Carolyn T. Graves, $100; Carol B. Power, $25; Joyce Oswald, $100; Robert L and Sylvia Hunter, $25; Constance Elliott, $40; Betty Brasington in honor of her daughter and son-in-law Michelle and Cyrus Sinor, $100; Clyde and Imogene Steele, in memory of Onabelle Wilson Stiller, $100; Carrie Snyder, $50; Early Risers Second Baptist Church, $100; and Jeff Sims, in memory of Dorothy Sims, $25.

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli  at csardelli@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 416-8416