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Mission seeking food, toys for needy

As Christmas approaches, the City Welfare Mission is hoping for help in making the season a little brighter for those in need.

The mission is accepting toys and food donations for local families.

Pastor and director Jeff Cremeans said the need for assistance is always greater during the holiday season.

“We’ll help more people and families in December than in any month in the year,” Cremeans said. “We’re already at over 1,100 children registered for Christmas.”

Last year, the mission provided toys to 1,244 children and food to 715 families for Christmas. With 700 families already registered to receive food and more than 1,100 children registered to receive toys, this year is shaping up to be as big a challenge as last year.

Cremeans cites the economy and high unemployment rate for the need this year. Several of the families the mission have helped this year have come for the first time, he said.

The community has always supported the mission, he said.

“This community is a great community,” Cremeans said. “There’s even some that have moved off from here and (continued to support the mission).

“The people are good but the needs are greater this year.”

The mission has several food collection sites including some local businesses. Pick ‘n’ Save, Wesbanco Bank and City National Bank in Ironton have barrels for food donations, as does the FoodFair in Coal Grove.

City National Bank also has a giving tree where people can pick up the name of a child for whom to buy a Christmas present.

The Dollar Tree in Ironton is having a toy drive for the mission.

At the Walmart in South Point, shoppers can buy a toy and leave it at the service desk for the mission’s efforts.

Cremeans said he hopes these sites will give people an opportunity to give with less hassle.

“I try to make it a little easier,” he said.

In the past, many grocery stores and other businesses have had food donation sites for the mission. With policy changes and new management over the years, fewer and fewer businesses are donation sites.

“Any stores interested in having a barrel, we’d be happy to supply them with one,” Cremeans said.

Toys, financial contributions and food are also accepted at the mission’s North Fifth Street location.

Cremeans said that though the needs are great for Christmas, this is not the only time of year when people need help.

“We’re not just doing this (during the holidays),” Cremeans said. “We do this 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and we’ve been here 65 years.”

Cremeans thanked the community for its support of the mission.

“I appreciate all those who have helped us,” he said. “Not just this year. We appreciate all those, they’re too numerous to call out but we do appreciate them.”

For more information, contact the City Welfare Mission at (740) 532-5041.