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A record breaker in Cincy

Every year since 1993, the crowds in Cincinnati have converged on the Crib of the Nativity display at Eden Park’s Krohn Conservatory to take in the Christmas spirit and help raise money for The Salvation Army.

This past year, the community was alerted that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Army needed help more than ever.

The community responded by increasing its giving almost 20 percent over the previous year and provided the largest amount in the 28 years that donations have been collected at the nativity.

In late January, Salvation Army officials announced that they had received a record-breaking $87,623.40 from the Western & Southern Financial Fund. That included $43,811.70 from visitor donations at the Crib of the Nativity and an equal match from Western & Southern Financial Group’s charitable foundation.


Answering the call

“This year has been a particularly challenging one for our community as we navigate the pandemic,” said Major Timothy Lyle, commander of The Salvation Army’s Southwest Ohio and Northeast Ohio (SWONEKY) Division. “Requests for our services have never been higher. We asked for the community’s assistance in helping us Rescue Christmas, and I’m so pleased to say they answered that call.

“Western & Southern has been an amazing partner for The Salvation Army. They sponsor so many of our initiatives, including the Adopt-a-Family program, gifts for Adopt-a-Senior and of course, the nativity display. Whenever there is a need that is shown to Western & Southern, their leadership, along with their amazing employees, always find a way to step up and help.”

A release from the SWONEKY Division said the money would go to a host of Salvation Army programs, including “providing meals for the needy, addiction services, shelter for the homeless, summer camp programs for children, and low-cost housing for seniors, among others.”

Western & Southern, founded in Cincinnati in 1888 as The Western and Southern Life Insurance Company, has sponsored the nativity display since 1939 and for many years has matched the monetary gifts donated by those visiting the display. Since 1993, donations from visitors to the Christmas display and Western & Southern’s match have resulted in more than $285,315 going to The Salvation Army.


A caring community

The Crib of the Nativity, which features live animals, drew almost 15,000 visitors this year with its simple “Keep Christ in Christmas” message.

“The Crib of the Nativity display is a time-honored Cincinnati tradition,” said Mario San Marco, senior vice president of the Western & Southern Financial Group. “We are honored to partner with The Salvation Army on this and many other initiatives.

“The donation from the kettle at the Crib this year demonstrates that the Cincinnati community is a caring one, and we are grateful to be able to match the donations of so many kind-hearted people.”

by Robert Mitchell