Editor's note: This is the first in a series of articles about local organizations providing a helping hand to the community. An article will be published in each edition leading up to Christmas.
ELKINS - Catholic Charities West Virginia in Elkins is striving to make the holiday season enjoyable for as many people as possible throughout the community.
Cindy Hammer, the regional director of Catholic Charities, said volunteers work hard throughout the season to provide some cheer for those who need it. One such project is the Angel Trees program, which Hammer says is one of the organization's long-standing traditions. The Angel Trees program is a way for people in the community to help come together and buy gifts for children in families in need.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Chad Clem
Catholic Charities West Virginia volunteer Alice Guire prepares food for a family. Guire is one of the many hard-working volunteers who work to help spread joy to those in need, not only during the holiday season but throughout the year.
"We contact businesses who would like to participate in the program and then we send them the child's age, gender, clothing and shoe size and what items they like," said Hammer. "They come together and buy gifts to ensure that the children can have a good Christmas."
The items for the Angel Trees are due to the Catholic Charities office by Dec. 16.
The organization is also holding a food drive with the assistance of the Elkins Rotary Club. Hammer said that an event that she is looking forward to this holiday season is a party for the organization's volunteers that will be held at the Elkins-Randolph County YMCA. Hammer said it is a way to show appreciation to the more than 40 volunteers who help out every month, particularly during the holiday season.
"People are very generous this time of year," said Hammer. "They may not be able to remember what gifts they got last year but they tend to remember the people they help. It's always great to see families participating in the joy of giving."
Catholic Charities also aided people this fall by preparing Thanksgiving baskets for families in need. Hammer said this year the agency was able to distribute 357 Thanksgiving baskets, containing all the supplies for a chicken or turkey dinner, with the help of St. Brendan Church, St. Patrick's Church, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee from Davis & Elkins College, the Word of Faith Preparatory Academy of Elkins and a full staff of the organization's own volunteers.
"We have a staff of 35 volunteers who are dedicated to feeding 440 families every month," said Hammer. "They work hard and they are great. We also rely on donations and support from the community to keep us functioning and helping us give to as many people as possible."
For more information on how to volunteer for Catholic Charities West Virginia, check out www.catholiccharitieswv.org or call 304-636-4875.
Contact Chad Clem by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.