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The evening of Wednesday, December 11th marked the occasion of Ohio Valley Goodwill’s 12th annual Homeless Awareness Dinner which was held at the newly-designed, prestigious Sharonville Convention Center. This year’s event welcomed almost 300 guests from various community shelters that Goodwill works in partnership with as part of the Greater Cincinnati Continuum of Care. The Continuum of Care is an association of more than 22 local organizations that provide a host of services for individuals struggling with homelessness for a variety of reasons.More than 90 of the guests were children under the age of 10. The youngest guest for this year’s celebration was just two weeks old and slept through most of the festivities.
The assembled honored guests were warmly welcomed by Ohio Valley Goodwill Special Projects Manager, Bill Darnell and invited to enjoy the lavish holiday spread graciously prepared and served by Ovations Catering. This is the second year in a row that Ovations has generously sponsored the delicious fare which included roast turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, salad and of course, a selection of fantastic desserts. The extravagant meal was accompanied by Christmas music provided by a DJ and later, dance tunes that got everyone up on their feet. The highlight of the evening as always, was the arrival of the VIP visitor from the North, Santa, accompanied this year by Rudolph, his trusty lead reindeer. As soon as Santa was spotted, all of the excited children made a rush for the Christmas tree where Santa waited to listen to each one’s wishes and get a candy cane.
Ohio Valley Goodwill has been providing services for veterans and others challenged with homelessness since the early 1990’s and in 2012, served more than 750 veterans through its transitional housing, skill training and employment programs. The annual Homeless Awareness Dinner is just another opportunity during the holiday season to provide something special for both individuals and families struggling with self-sufficiency. “Goodwill is so pleased that the Sharonville Convention Center and Ovations Catering make this wonderful holiday tradition possible,” said Joe Byrum, President and CEO. “We can’t thank Jim Downton and his Ovations team enough for their kindness and generous support,” added Byrum.
Channel 12 news also covered the heart-warming event and posted a story on the late evening news. Each guest received a gift bag at the end of the evening which contained a hat, gloves and socks provided by friends and employees of Ovations Catering and Sharonville Convention Center. Goodwill is grateful to its partner organizations for their involvement and support of the holiday tradition. This year’s partners included the YWCA, Geiger House, Goodwill Dorm, Salvation Army, Mercy St. John, SSVF, Parkway Center, VOA, First Step Homes and the VA Dom. For more information about Ohio Valley Goodwill’s programs and services, visit http://www.cincinnatigoodwill.org/services.