Santa’s Helper

Published 10:45 am Thursday, December 18, 2008

Most people think of Santa Claus as a jolly old man who wears a red hat, but for some young people at the Dennis J. Boll Group and Shelter Home, the part of Santa this year will be played by a friendly young woman with flaming red hair who simply wants to be a friend when they perhaps need one the most.

Ironton resident Brandi Lynch said she knows some of the kids who have spent time at the group home and was concerned that some of them might not have a Christmas unless someone stepped in to help.

“Some of them aren’t necessarily bad kids and no one should be forgotten this time of year. It may not be much…” she explained.

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She tried to enlist the help of others but didn’t get much response. Undeterred, she turned to the one person she can always count on: Mom. Together, Brandie and Ginny Lynch purchased 20 small gifts.

Group home case manager Kimberly Royal said she was pleasantly surprised by the gesture of friendship.

“So many times people think because these kids are in a group home, they’re bad. We all make mistakes and these are kids who have made some bad choices. They’re here to be helped,” Royal explained. Of Lynch, she added, “She has a beautiful heart.”

Thinking of others is not out of character for Brandie Lynch. She is undertaking luggage drives to benefit children at Mended Reeds.

“When they move from home to home sometimes all they have is a big black plastic bag (to put their belongings in). “I want them to have something they can call their own.”

One in October at the Ironton Hills Shopping Center netted 28 pieces of luggage. Another 20-30 suitcases were collected earlier this month when she teamed up with the Workforce Development Resource Center.

The first 28 pieces of luggage were delivered to Mended Reeds last week.

Lynch said she hopes to make this an on-going effort and expand in to include other agencies. Another luggage drive is planned for spring.

Those who would like to donate luggage may call Ginny Lynch at 550-9834.