“We would be hurting if not for them”: Distribution coverage

23 Dec

The Williamson Daily News did a wonderful job convering the Christmas distribution in yesterday’s paper.  Here’s the full front-page article (which is on their website here):

KERMIT — “And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me.” Matthew 25:40 (American King James Bible).

The above scripture was quoted during a prayer prior to Christian Help’s annual Christmas Distribution Drive. For the non-profit charitable organization’s drive, there is no quote or scripture more fitting to describe the reason for the annual giveaway.

“It’s all about serving God and living out his love,” said Christian Help Director Barry Hudock.

In all, Christian Help collected 2,980 toys, more than 2,000 stuffed animals, and 800 books that were given to 305 low-income Mingo County families. In addition to those massive numbers, food for 1,900 people was given out as well.

“Thank God for all the good people who have helped us and all the people who sent toys,” said Sister Brendan Conlon, who returned from retirement to help with the Christmas toy drive.

Along with Conlon, retired Sister Janet Peterworth of ABLE Families helped with the drive that boasted over 30 volunteers, many of whom traveled long hours specifically for the event.

One volunteer in particular traveled over 12 hours from his home on Long Island, N.Y., in memory of his late wife.

John Cashin’s late wife Terry donated clothes to Christian Help, but was never able to make the trip to West Virginia for the drive. Cashin has been participating in the drive for the past three years to remember her.

“I look forward to coming here,” said Cashin. “It really makes you appreciate what you have and brings you down to Earth.”

A group of 14 from Marist High School in Atlanta, Ga., — including 12 children — made the trek to Kermit over the weekend to help with the event.

“Christmas is Christmas wherever you are,” said Father John Walls of Marist High School. “People have been so generous. We’re all overwhelmed.”

Ruth Kelly of Sacred Heart Academy in Louisville, Ky., brought a moving truck full of toys. Kelly was a student of Sister Conlon when she taught English at Sacred Heart.

“You never see Christmas in the same light,” said Kelly. “It’s a heartwarming and touching experience.”

Christian Help plans for their annual giveaway year-round, accepting toys and donations throughout the year and then during November, the organization begins registering families for the drive.

“The response from the community is great,” said Director of Programs and Aid Sister Therese Carew. “The poorest of the poor are able to have Christmas and it all happens because of generosity from all over the country.”

Families receiving food and toys were all smiles during the event and praised the organization’s hospitality.

“Thank God they help out everyone they everyone they can,” said Mary Collins of Big Splint Hollow. “(Sister Brendan) is a sweet lady and I love her and Sister Therese with everything in me.”

“We would be hurting if not for them,” added Collins’ daughter, Mary Jane.

Christian Help is supported entirely by donations, mostly from churches and individuals.  It is not affiliated with any one church and serves anyone in need, regardless of race or religion–or lack of religion.

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