DAV fill pantry for mission

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 29, 2005

If you asked the Rev. Jim Cremeans, retired pastor of the Ironton City Welfare Mission, he may tell you Santa Claus has traded in his traditional red and white suit for a black and white uniform.

Disabled American Veterans Chapter 51 members Stephen Saunders and Alan Unrue played the role of Saint Nick Monday as they, Unrue’s son Matthew and Cremeans pushed a shopping cart loaded with food through Ironton Save-A-Lot. The DAV donated $500 to help the mission stock its cupboards with cereal, tomato juice, stuffing, canned meat and more just in time for the holiday.

“It is a matter of duty to our community. Disabled American Veterans are no stranger to hardships,” said Saunders, the chapter commander. “… This community has been good to us. It is only fitting we give something back.”

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Nearly all of the money raised by the small chapter of just 12 active members stays in the community, Saunders said.

The group has already donated more than $300 worth of toys to the mission as the veterans’ group continues a tradition it began 20 years ago, a tradition Cremean’s said could not be more appreciated.

“These boys are good. They sure help us out,” said Cremeans, who has turned over much of the mission’s responsibilities to his son, Jeff, though the elder Cremeans still volunteers his time.

“First, they brought us a pile of toys and now this. We sure are blessed.”

Each year the city mission hands out food baskets and toys to needy families at Christmas. More than 500 families have asked for help with food this year and 300 more have asked for toys for their children.