Share Your Christmas provides holiday joy to hundreds of children

Dinah Cochran (back row, fifth from left) and her Share Your Christmas volunteers celebrate the success of another event on Saturday, Dec. 21. Hundreds of underprivileged children from throughout the Cleveland area were provided Christmas gifts that were donated to the charity.

If you think shopping for a few kids for Christmas is tough, try shopping for nearly 300. Dinah Cochran, founder of Share Your Christmas, spent the days leading up to her Dec. 21 toy giveaway shopping for 262 underprivileged children. As she watched the children pick up their bags of toys, Cochran joked that she wasn’t quite finished with her own Christmas shopping.

“I haven’t even shopped for Christmas gifts for my family yet,” she said with a laugh. “I am going tomorrow to take care of that. Then I have to start cooking for Christmas dinner. I have 32 people coming to my house.”

Cochran started Share Your Christmas 29 years ago when Interfaith Ministries dissolved, ending a Christmas charity for children in the Cleveland area. Donations from the event come from businesses, organizations and individuals in the community. Cochran and her small army of volunteers spend the weeks leading up to Christmas taking requests for assistance and then shopping for the children.

This year’s requests were slightly down from the previous year when 300 children were helped, but a couple of last-minute requests caused a bit of stress for Cochran as she struggled to find money to purchase bikes for the three remaining children.

“I wasn’t sure where I would find the money. I couldn’t afford to give them gift cards,” she said. “But then Rev. Tony [Current, pastor of Christian Full Gospel Tabernacle in Votaw] called and asked how he could help. He donated money to the event. Plus he plays Santa Claus for us.”

Another timely phone call from Rev. Kenneth Faust, chaplain with Texas Elite Hospice, led to his donation of the final bike for the event.

Cochran’s endeavors for the community led to her recently receiving the ZBT Hometown Hero Award.

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