Pocahontas Neighbors Help Children From Poor Families Enjoy Christmas

Especially during this time of year, it is nice to hear about our community helping out its kids who might not be as fortunate as others, so we asked Laura Young of the Pocahontas County Family Resource Network in Marlinton to tell us about their Project Christmas.

“I’m Laura Young, and I’m the Director of the Pocahontas County Family Resource Network” said Laura. “I wanted to talk to you today about a project we are working on called Project Christmas. With this project, low-income families can make an application through Debbie Walton at DHHR to put their children on an Angel Tree. During the application process, Debbie Walton will ask for some information that’s specific for the child. Things like their age and their gender. She will need to know what they need and what they want -dinosaurs are the popular things this year. If approved, the family will be put onto a list, and an angel will be prepared for that child. On the back of the angel, we will list their shirt sizes, pants, their shoe sizes -the things that they want and they need. Then those angels are placed on an Angel Tree around the County. There is a tree at my Family Center here at Marlinton. There’s also one at City National Bank in Marlinton. Our angels can also be picked up in the upper end of the County at First Citizens Bank in Arbovale. So, the community can go in and choose their angel and then go shop for this child. And they will put things in a bag and they will tag that bag with the number that’s on the angel. Those bags need to be back into the Family Center here in Marlinton or to the bank in Arbovale. We’d like to have the angels back by December 17th, which is Monday.”

“If the community has an angel that they intend to shop for, but just hasn’t had the chance to do that yet, we’d like for them to call the Family Resource Network and tell Becky Campbell that they have that angel and what time we can expect that bag to come in.  The number there is 304-799-6847.  Then the families can come in and pick those bags up, or the sheriff’s Department will deliver them if the family has transportation issues.”

“There are a couple of different ways the community can help if they haven’t chosen an angel yet, but they’d like to help. They can just drop off new -unwrapped toys and clothes at either location, and we will pick them up and match them with a child. We can also take a check, made payable to the Family Resource Network, and mailed to Post Office Box 3 in Marlinton. And then if we have some that have not been adopted, or it there are things that the child needs that are not in the bag, we will use that money to then go out and buy like a pair of boots to add to that child’s bag.”

“We’ve been doing this project for ten years, and it seems like it’s been the same people in the community that have helped us. And I am so thankful for those people who show up every single year to adopt angels and those who come in and drop toys and boots and coats and things off. We truelycould not do this project without the support of our community. The Family Resource Network is normally grant-funded, but this project does not receive grant funding, it is completely people here helping their neighbors.”

What happens if someone had picked up an an angel from a tree and then forget to bring it back and it doesn’t get returned?

“Well, we do run into that sometimes” Laura answered. “We almost always have a few where the angels just disappear. We call them little lost angels, and we will send a shopper out with some of the money that’s donated and they will go to Walmart and different places and just try to fill that order to make sure the child does have a Christmas. It’s important that if you pick up n angel that you try your best to bring it back and I know things happen, sometimes people get sick and they just can’t do what they thought they were going to do -and that’s OK, they can call the Family Center and let us know what the problem is and give us the number on the back of the angel. That will allow me to have someone else fill that order, or I can get a shopper to go do it.”

Again, although time is short, if you are a low-income family in Pocahontas County and would like some help in providing your child some nice Christmas presents, start by calling Debbie Walton at DHHR at 304-799-2540.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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