The ‘Season of Giving’ to look different this year for organizations

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 7:19 PM EDT
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NORTH CENTRAL, W.Va (WDTV) - As the holidays approach, many organizations are working as they do every year to provide for families in need.

With Thanksgiving just shy of 40 days away and Christmas only 70, the season of giving is here and many organizations are saying it began earlier this year due to COVID-19, so now the pandemic is bringing changes to the usual jolly season.

Organizations, churches, and even just people in communities come together every year to provide for those who need a little extra help during the holidays.

From food to toys, many take on the role of Santa, but this year has a new Grinch known as COVID-19, and it’s making it harder for those who are trying to provide.

“So many people who would normally give to us are now in need as well,” Lt. Sheldon Greenland, the lead administrator for Salvation Army of Marion Monongalia and Preston counties said.

One of the largest leaders of giving during the holiday season, and known for ringing bells outside of storefronts, Greenland said this year it may be a little quieter.

“For those who would like to ring, but not necessarily physically, they can set up a virtual kettle to collect money,” he said.

Some stores are not participating this year due to the pandemic, but Lt. Greenland said there will be a few ringers, he’s just unsure of how many. Either way, the pandemic is still impacting their organization, as they expect more people to need their assistance.

In 2019, the Salvation Army of Marion, Preston and Monongalia County had a huge impact in the community, helping thousands of families throughout the year:

Cases Serve this year 4,587

Total Persons Served 8,647

Persons Served First Time this Year 4,081

Meals- Feeding Program 25,584

Groceries, Orders Provided 2,634

Housing Assistance-Orders 5

Clothing-Items Distributed 14,498

Energy Assistance 288

Senior Boxes 859

Other Service (Pantry/HH) 722

Angel Tree/Sheetz Kidz 949

The Salvation Army of Monongalia, Marion and Preston counties have moved a lot of their events to be held virtually.

Like their Red Kettle Campaign, which helps providing funding to put toward those in need, or as Lt. Greenland said, it’s a way to help rescue Christmas this year and make sure they are still able to provide. Or their Angel Tree Program, which will also be done virtually, so families are asked to visit their website and provide the needed information.

For others in the north central region, like the annual soup drive hosted by Kelley Tierney State Farm in Buckhannon, they are limiting contact by providing pickup services to collect canned soup and only having one collection site at their office (115 East Main St. in Buckhannon). This will go until Oct. 31.

“We can tell a difference in the number of cans that we have compared to last year,” an account representative at the insurance company, Miranda Osburn said. “We know people aren’t shopping as much now, so we’re trying to provide other options so that we can still collect canned soup,” she said.

In the case of Toys For Tots out of Elkins, operated by the Elkins Marine Corps League (MCL), they decided along with others involved in the program across the nation, to just cancel their event all together.

“Our biggest concern was for our members, many of them have medical problems or are nurses working in nursing homes,” Roger Ware, the Toys for Tots coordinator said.

Having to cut back all in the effort to make sure they can still be there for the community in the future.

“We are nothing without the help of our community.”

One thing organization officials said is whether or not they are able to help as many people as they’re use to in their communities, there are other organizations and individuals that lend a helping hand as well.

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