MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – More than 2,000 people in Monongalia County will now have a better holiday season this year as a direct result of the annual Holiday Food and Toy Distribution drive.
The event has been running for 38 years and is done through the effort of other charitable organizations like Christian Help, that collected toys, and the Mountaineer Food Bank, who donated thousands of pounds of food, as well as local businesses. The distribution even works in collaboration with 14 local schools who helped to collect nonperishable food items.
It took more than 300 volunteers to make it all possible Jessica Staley, United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties’ family resource network manager, said. Volunteers worked all through the week, Staley said, to organize the food and gifts in a streamlined fashion to get people what they needed as quickly as possible.
“These people were amazing they, every step of the way came, through and just did above and beyond what they were here to volunteer and do,” Patricia Byars-Curry said.
Byars-Curry is a mother of three who said she was appreciative of everyone involved in helping her family this holiday season. She said her kids wouldn’t have had much this year if not for the distribution. Now, she said, she has gifts from the movie Frozen for her two girls and toys that involve building for her son, who loves to build things.
The event was so helpful, she said, she even got something for her cat.
“They actually gave my cat food and toy and stuff for her,” Byars-Curry said. “That was pretty awesome too that they do that for the animals.”
Staley, from United Way, said the event would not have been possible without the help of the Monongalia County community. Through the help of all their partners, Staley said, they have managed to more than double the amount of people served. In 2018, she said, there were over 900 people, but this year helped over 2,000 and managed to do it in even less time.
There were so many items donated that there were leftovers of both food and gifts. The toys will go back to Christian Help, who will keep distributing them and the food will go to food banks in Monongalia County and one in Preston County.