Chesapeake volunteers gearing up for giveaway

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 19, 2010

CHESAPEAKE — The coats are sorted. The gift bags decorated. Now all that is left for the annual Christmas giveaway at the Chesapeake Community Center is putting all those food baskets together and helping the elves put together that room filled with all of Santa’s toys.

That will be on tap Monday and Tuesday just in time for the doors to open at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

“It takes a couple of days,” Ruth Damron, center director, said. “We will have fruit baskets and candy baskets (as well as food).”

Email newsletter signup

This year’s food baskets will include sugar, flour, canned foods, peanut butter, a frozen turkey or canned ham, corn beans, sweet potatoes and cake mixes. Area schools have donated 3,000 cans of food and other staples

“And everyone has a pound of butter,” Damron said.

The woman’s club of St. Ann’s Church in Chesapeake and other groups and individuals donated the coats, which were then dry-cleaned.

“They are lovely coats, all different sizes,” Damron said.

Churches have donated toys, which will be displayed in a special room where youngsters can choose. Also churches pick one item that will be given in the baskets and donate enough to fill all baskets.

“They can come into the coat room for clothes and toys,” she said.

Another support for the food basket program has come from Chesapeake’s Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service that brought in $2,500. Also for the past three years food has come from the Appalachian Mission Center of Father Ralph Beiting in Louisa, Ky. Last week Father Charles Moran of St. Ann’s drove a truck there to pick up food for Wednesday.

“We did all right,” Moran said. “A lot of places can’t hand out loose food. We can do that. We had two pallets of ravioli. But they didn’t have near as much as they used to have. We couldn’t get turkeys. We did get some 10 cases of chicken and ham. The rest was vegetables, onions, potatoes, canned stuff. We did get a pallet of potatoes.

One concern is the toys with 400 children to take care of.

“We always like to have enough toys,” Moran said.

This year the center is expected close to 600 families, whose names have been cross-checked with food banks in Ironton and South Point to make sure of no duplication.