DAV donates to help mission prep for holiday

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 17, 2004

Their past military contributions have been recognized, but these local veterans have continued their sense of service to a different kind of mission.

The Disabled American Veterans Lawrence County Chapter 51 donated loads of food and toys to the Ironton's City Welfare Mission Thursday morning. This marks the fifth year the group has led such a drive to help others in the area in need.

"The reason for doing thisŠis that we believe it is our duty to protect the freedom from want," said DAV Commander Stephen D. Saunders. "It's a shame that in a country as wealthy as ours that people are destitute. We did it out of concern, we did it to give back to our community that has given so much to us."

Email newsletter signup

The mission usually distributes food baskets and toys to 600 area families for Christmas according to the Rev. Jim Cremeans, its pastor/director. Thanks to DAV, at least 10 more families can be served.

"It means a lot. It means we'll be able to help several more families because of their help," Cremeans said. "They've been helping us for several years and we really appreciate it."

DAV brought in money through the sale of forget-me-nots after starting out with about $200 in food and $100 in toys, Saunders said. While it is physically difficult for the veterans, their fund-raising efforts have not been in vain.

"(We gave) this year because people gave sacrificially in this area and with the cooperation of both mayors (John Elam in Ironton and Larry McDaniel in Coal Grove) as well as my people who stay and help distribute and dodge cars despite their pain, we were able to have a good year and able to give more," Saunders said.

But there is still more to do, Cremeans said. The mission will be accepting donations of food and toys until Dec. 22 when volunteers assemble the food baskets for distribution on Dec. 23.

Items can be dropped off anytime between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. until then. Monetary donations are also much appreciated.

While food and toys are still needed, there are plenty of people already on board to bring Christmas a little early to families in the area.

"We've got a lot of volunteers to help out that day (Dec. 22)," Cremeans said. "We always have a lot of people call us up and have us save them a place (to help). So, that's one thing we're really blessed with and we're really thankful to the Lord for all the volunteers. We actually have to turn some way because we get so many volunteers."

Although their efforts are most evident during the holidays, DAV's members help fellow veterans and people in need throughout the year, Saunders said. That is made possible by residents who give to DAV.

"It's important for people to know that they're the ones that are supporting this," Saunders said. "This is our contribution to our community and we're just happy to do it."