The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 23, 2013

Local family focuses on true meaning of Christmas

Staff Writer

JEFFERSON — A local family is going above and beyond this holiday season, to give back to those less fortunate and teach their daughter the true meaning of Christmas.

Jason and Kristen Ashba came up with the Base Layer Project, to collect thermal underwear for homeless people in the county. The name “base layer” comes from the thermal clothing being the most important layer in the winter to keep warm, Jason Ashba said.

When the Ashbas came up the idea, they called the Samaritan House to offer the donations they are collecting.

This is the first year for the project, but Ashba hopes to build on it and grow the effort in coming years.

“We wanted to do something to give back during Christmas, rather than receive,” he said. “We had a daughter in April and wanted to start something we could do as a family as she grows up.”

Ashba said the idea is to spread the message “Faith, Hope and Charity.”

The Ashbas have set up two collection points. People can drop off new thermal underwear for men, women and children at the Jefferson Community Recreation Center and at Wild Side Bar and Grill.

“We decided to start this project to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas, which is giving,” Ashba said. “We figured this was something unique.”

Ashba, who was in the military, said he posted information about the project on Facebook and many of his friends from the military are donating as well.

“I should be receiving a package all the way from Louisiana,” he said.

The Ashbas plan to pick up the donations on Dec. 21 and deliver them to the Samaritan House in time for Christmas.

“We hope that our project will bring warmth to those who need it most and to let those who receive the thermals know our community cares about them,” Ashba said.