Giving people a brighter Christmas (WITH GALLERY)

Published 2:05 pm Wednesday, December 27, 2023

CMO provides for more than 500 families in giveaway

CHESAPEAKE — The cars were lined up for nearly a quarter mile on State Route 7, starting at the Chesapeake Community Center and extending well past Pickett’s Concrete.

But there was not an accident or construction. Instead, the line, pulled over beside the road, was for those taking part in the one of the largest charitable events the county sees each year.

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Chesapeake Community Mission Outreach hosted their annual Christmas giveaway on Thursday, providing food, toys and other items to families for the holiday.

The CMO, a joint effort of local churches, hosts the event each year at the community center, the centerpiece of the year-long food distribution effort.

Dannie Newman, financial secretary of the CMO, said, this year, they served 530 families and that volunteers would be there for six hours working on the giveaway. 

Newman said donations for the project came from individuals, businesses and churches, in the form of both monetary donations and food items.

“There were so many,” he said. “Someone gave 500 milks.”

Altogether, he said about 50 volunteers were working there Thursday, and many had taken part in the setup the day before.

Inside the building, the former Chesapeake High School, volunteers pushed carts through the gym, loading them with items such as potatoes, stuffing, fruit baskets, Chex mix and soup.

The operation has been conducted for so many years, it caries out like clockwork, with the full carts wheeled outside to the waiting cars.

Among those working were Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts from Troop 5198 in Chesapeake, who had 16 people there, working in shifts, including eight children and parents.

Also there were 13 11-year-old girls from Ohio Sting, a fast pitch softball team from southern Ohio, whose members come from all over the Tri-State.

Their coach, Brendan Medley, said they were taking part in loading carts and boxing and unboxing items.

He said it is one of two volunteer service projects the team does each year.

“We’re getting them in here, so these can see this side of things and help people who aren’t as fortunate,” he said.

Layne Counch, a team member from Greenup, Kentucky, said they were happy to “help lots of people.”

“We’re giving them food for their families and lots of different things,” she said.

Jaylynn Lanham, a team member from Pratt, in Kanawha County, West Virginia, was working alongside her.

“We’re helping people who less fortunate,” she said. And we’re giving them food to help them.”

Also taking place in the building was the toy room, where donations had been collected and those signed up could come in and pick out items for children. As part of that effort, the CMO was also raffling off four donated bikes throughout the day.