Christmas presents and food donations help out area families
All of the presents from the angel trees on display at First Citizens Bank and City National Bank have been handed out to grateful families for the Christmas holiday.
About 300 children received donated gifts this year, said Becky Campbell, family center coordinator for the Pocahontas County Family Resource Network. Campbell and the staff at the network collect names of area children who are needy this season with a list of their interests and clothing and shoe sizes.
Presents were donated by visitors at The Greenbrier resort as well as area businesses and charitable givers.
“Folks would just stop by and take those angels off the tree. It’s been wonderful to see, even local businesses that will come in and take a dozen angels off our tree. We’ve had a few churches that would take 15 to 17 angels and just go buy gifts for those kids.
“It’s amazing the support we get form such a small community. It’s overwhelming. We actually received more gifts this year than we ever have in the past, and they’re very, very nice gifts that are coming from The Greenbrier resort.
“People that are staying there at the resort can actually go in the gift shop that’s there and buy a toy and donate it to their toy drive. And then it goes in this big stash of toys and those are the things that we wrap, I think it’s about a month and a half that they wrap gifts and different organizations from all over the state can come there and wrap gifts … so that those kids when they wake up on Christmas morning have got lots of presents to open.”
Families truly appreciate the gifts, Campbell said.
“It’s a very good feeling knowing that all the hard work we do is well received and so appreciated. I looked this morning on Facebook and there were several messages from some of our parents, just thanking us for the work we do and that warms your heart a lot,” Campbell said.
The 300 children served through the angel tree was an increase in number this year, up by about 50 children from last year.
“I think some of the families that we had were new to this area. We also had some folks that just hadn’t been called back to work in their seasonal jobs yet. I think that was a lot of it, or they had just started back to work and maybe had been at work for a week.
“I think because we haven’t had that much snow and the temperatures haven’t really been that cold, winter seasonal jobs just weren’t starting as early as they do some years,” Campbell said.
Campbell also wanted to be sure to tell people about the FRN monthly food pantry, held next Tuesday, Dec. 30.
“Last month our truck came in before Thanksgiving, and we served close to 250 families from that food truck. By the end of the day, with 250 families, most of the food was gone by the time we were done with our pantry that day.
“This month, I know it comes after the holiday, I’m really hoping to re-stock everyone’s pantry and their freezer, and so I ordered some extra meats and things to hopefully get the refrigerators and freezers and things stocked back up for folks.”
In order to qualify for the food pantry, you must meet federal poverty guidelines, similar to those for families receiving supplemental nutritional assistance. The food pantry is held in partnership with Mountaineer Food Bank in Gassaway, West Virginia.
“They provide a lot of free food to our county. A lot of it is canned goods, bakery, produce. We do get some dairy and some meats from them at certain times of the year that’s free. Now we’ve received lots of donations from businesses, organizations, churches, so that we are able to buy food as well.
“They will sell meat for .19 cents per pound, so if someone gives us a $20 donation, $20 doesn’t seem like much, but I can turn that into 100 pounds of meat,” Campbell said.
“Those are our biggest needs in our community right now is just helping people get through the holidays, whether it’s with presents, food, just your basic necessities,” Campbell said.
Family Resource Network is located on 3rd Avenue in Marlinton. For more information, contact (304) 799-6847.