LEBANON, Ind. - A relatively new group is out and picking up steam.
On Facebook, it goes by the name, "Lebanon Chatter Community Chest," and the people behind it are lending a helping hand to their names, starting with Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The idea came about after Phil Tyree, a retiree, came across a message from another page late in the fall.
“Somebody came onto the site I run and was needing help," Tyree said. "They were getting blasted, bullied, everything else and I had enough of it. I’m tired of seeing people getting bullied because they need help. There’s nobody out here who has never asked for help or never needed help.”
So, Tyree started talking with his friend, Todd Spenneberg. The duo decided to start a new group all together, where people who wanted to help others could find people who might need something for any reason.
"There’s no, how much money do you make to qualify for assistance," Spenneberg said. "There is no, it doesn’t matter what your story is, what matters is do you need help.”
Tyree said within 12 hours, the group had nearly 200 members. As of Friday, the total is approaching 700. Facebook says the group has been going on for a litte more than a month.
While the group leaders envision helping others in countless ways, it started in November with Thanksgiving.
"We had a woman on a fixed income, who has needed help herself, donate us ten turkeys," said Tyree. "She wanted to be able to help others this time."
Donation drop off locations cropped up across the county. Thanksgiving meats were put in a deep freezer donated by American Rental. By Thanksgiving Day, enough food was rounded up that the group provided food for 19 families.
“Seeing the people we needed to help on Thanksgiving and talking to the people, it showed me there is a lot of love in our town," Spenneberg said.
Now that the calendar has turned over to December, the group is out to help others again. This time with Christmas.
“We’ve got clothes," Tyree said. "We’ve got toys. We still have some dry goods from Thanksgiving.”
The group has a garage full of donated items. So much had come in that the group was able to get a local storage unit to donate a unit for the group to store excess donations.
The group has an application form on its Facebook page. People can apply until December 4, but the hope is donations will continue to pour in and the deadline can be extended.
It's hoping to help out at least 50 families this month.
“My biggest concern is the food," said Spenneberg. "We did have a huge turnout for the food for Thanksgiving. For Christmas, I’m a little concerned but I think with the way donations have been coming in I think it is going to be okay."
After the holiday season is over, the group will continue to look for ways to help out their neighbors.
"That is my full intention, to grow this into a as big of a community resource as I can," Spenneberg said.