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Making the season brighter: City Welfare Mission gives to 435 families

On Friday morning, there was a line inside the City Welfare Mission building.

A line of people snaked from the entrance into the main hall with plastic crates, got a large paper bag and then had the bags filled up with food.

Rather than being the recipients of a food drive, they were the volunteers from the City Mission Church, Collins Career and Technical Center, the Rubyville Community Church and Evangelistic Outreach Ministries who were organizing hundreds of meals for families in need.

“We are filling 435 baskets for people who have registered with us,” said Jeff Cremeans, pastor and director of the Ironton City Welfare Mission Church and Shelter.

He added the baskets are all for people in Lawrence County.

“Some of these volunteers have been coming for years to help us,” Cremeans said. “They know the routine pretty well. These volunteers are such a blessing. They just make light work of it. We’ll be done in less than two hours.”

The amount of groceries in each basket is based on the size of the family and includes canned vegetables, canned fruit, canned meat, instant mash potatoes, tuna, a loaf of bread, a turkey, macaroni and cheese and a box of cereal.

“We just want families to have a better Christmas,” Cremeans said.

Dr. Calvin Ray Evans, president and director of Evangelistic Outreach Ministries, said the church was there to support the City Welfare Mission and that it is a tradition that has gone on for 75 years.

And the two men have been a part of the annual holiday drive for most of that time. Cremeans father, Jim, started the City Welfare Mission, and Evans’ father, Calvin Evans, started Evangelistic Outreach Ministries.

“My dad, for nearly 60 years, had traveled and preached and through that time, Jim Cremeans was one of the initial board members of the Evangelistic Outreach and I was pastoring at Rubyville Community Church,” Evans explained. “So we have partnered together all these years. Not only for this, but throughout the year, to do what we can.”

Cremeans and Evans say they are both thankful for events like this.

“We are reaping what we did not sow,” Evans said, with a laugh. “Everyone is so great to volunteer to do this. They are very faithful.”

The food baskets will be delivered on Saturday.