COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Hundreds of volunteers spent their Saturday building a fleet of red wagons sure to help put a smile on hundreds of childrens’ faces this coming Christmas.
Wagons Ho Ho Ho started out 10 years ago with 25 red wagons, and now 1,250 of them are being built! Around 600 volunteers built each from scratch with the same thought in mind: To give hope to a child.
Each dollar donated goes to food that gets put into a bag, placed into the back of a wagon, and trundled off to a family for a Christmas dinner. Wagons Ho Ho Ho serves families throughout 20 counties in central Ohio.
Scott Kalkowsky has been a volunteer for the past 4 years.
“I mean, they’re going to wake up Christmas morning and their eyes are going to light up because they’re going to see this beautiful red wagon filled with food, so the families are going to love it,” he said.
Claire Postl, a volunteer for 6 years with Wagons Ho Ho Ho, “It’s so nice that so many people come out here to do it,” added Claire Postl, who has been volunteering with the organization for 6 years. “There’s so many people who really do care about the families in Columbus area”
Andy Gottesman has also been volunteering for the last 6 years and was excited to be right back at it.
“Right now. I’m building the chassis for one of our wagons trying to get it tightened down.” he explained. “Christmas morning, they have to be ecstatic and the red wagon is such an iconic Christmas present under the tree.”
Donn Ditzhazy is the President of Wagons Ho Ho Ho, and has seen this all start from the ground up.
“We started doing this because families, during the holidays, you know, there’s bills, food insecurity out there…if they’re struggling with food, what will their Christmas look like? And when they build this wagon, they have pride in it and know they’re doing something for a child.”
Even Santa Claus came to help.
“It’s magical,” Santa said. “It’s just like being at the North Pole with all my elves, watching them build and knowing that the smiles and joys are going to be delivered.”
The organization is already planning for next year, and volunteers hope to fill 1,500 wagons. To volunteer or donate, visit https://wagonshohoho.org/