WEIRTON - One thing the holiday season brings with it is the spirit of giving and the Weirton Salvation Army saw that on Thursday as volunteers packed themselves inside the organization's hall to prepare boxes of food set for distribution today in preparation for Thanksgiving.
Families were asked to be present outside the Weirton Salvation Army from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. today to accept boxes of food along with a turkey donated by Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort.
Salvation Army officials announced during the October meeting that more than 200 applications were submitted requesting assistance through the holidays for food, toys and coats through the Coats for Kids program. In addition, officials noted the number of families requesting help with food, utilites and other items, not related to the holiday season, continues to climb as a result of economic conditions.
PACKING DINNERS — Dozens of volunteers packaged more than 300 Thanksgiving dinners for local low-income individuals and families at the Weirton Salvation Army Thursday evening. -- Summer Wallace-Minger
In order to help curb some strain on local families throughout the holidays, 62 volunteers came in on Thursday to pack 288 boxes of food for families to help provide a Thanksgiving meal.
Brenda Greathouse, social services director for the Weirton Salvation Army, welcomed volunteers. She thanked them for giving their time.
"This is an important time of the year for us," said Greathouse. "There are a lot of families in need and without those willing to volunteer not only to help us pack food up and distribute it, but those who will be ringing the bells at various locations for our kettle drive, our Christmas distribution and helping with the recent food drive."
Greathouse said Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort donated 400 turkeys, something the business does annually. She said other local organizations also contribute funding for turkeys during the holidays.
"I am always so moved by how many volunteers come down to help get this food ready for the Thanksgiving distribution," added Greathouse. "This is truly amazing."
Board member Kitty Kochman said she has been involved with the Salvation Army for many years, but this was the first time she had helped with packing the food boxes for the holiday distributions. She said she knows the people who are in need and receiving them appreciate all the hard work and efforts of the Salvation Army and the volunteers.
Besides donating at the kettles, The Salvation Army offers several different opportunities for the community to share the holiday spirit with those less fortunate. Angel Trees, artificial Christmas trees bearing the cards with children's wish lists, will also begin to appear in local businesses.
For more information on how to volunteer or assist the Salvation Army call 304-748-4310.