By Terry Duffy
The annual Youngstown/Town of Porter Community Holiday Baskets project has been declared a great success this year. Scores of volunteers worked a village-townwide collection campaign from Dec. 11-16 at the Red Brick Village Center gym. Through the efforts and the donations of many, 50 families received food boxes, and over 90 children received clothing and toy items.
Peggy Hanson, retired chair from past campaigns, mentored all of the new volunteers to help make it all happen.
This year's project was chaired by Rita Rolfe, who kept all volunteers organized, with assistance by Beverly Roach. She reported "shout-outs" this year go to:
•John Rolfe, who served as treasurer and liaison to the Youngstown Lions Club. Rolfe organized the distribution and delivery of all of the food boxes and toy bags.
•Janet Brooks, who was in charge of children's gifts. She helped procure the clothing and toys from individuals and community groups, while her committee sorted and wrapped all of the children's gifts. She was assisted in this effort by Kate Myers, and Diane and Mike Blenk, who helped every day, as well as many other volunteers.
•Shawn D'Luhy, along with Chris Foster and Mary Wieland, in charge of purchasing the hams and other food for the recipients' food boxes. Laura Andrus was in charge of publicity.
"We had many community individuals and groups who donated cash, gift cards, and food and toy items. The Lions Club paid for the hams for all the families, plus donated toys and food items," Roach said. "Tom Tower donated lots of beautiful red apples plus potatoes from his farm market. Boy and Cub Scout Troop 829 donated canned and nonperishable food items.
"Lewiston-Porter Retired Elementary Teachers and staff donated toys and gift cards for the children, as did the middle school. Lewiston Tops donated store gift cards for each family plus helped with the hams. Ransomville Dollar General donated toys. Many local social and service groups donated. The mayor and village trustees helped out. Coast Guard Niagara adopted an entire large family and bought clothing and gifts for all of the children.
"Some other individuals also bought for entire families. Many people chose one or two children to buy specific things the children had requested, too. This is only a partial list.
"We are very grateful to all who helped make it possible for some of our neighbors to have a much nicer Christmas holiday than they might have."
2017 Donors to Youngstown/Town of Porter Community Baskets include the following: Cub Scout Troop 829 Youngstown; First Presbyterian Church Deacons; First Presbyterian Women's Association; the Girl Scouts; Lewiston-Porter elementary retired teachers and staff; Lewiston-Porter Middle School; Mickey and Grant Morris; Ransomville Dollar General; Tom Tower's Farm Market; DiMino Tops Lewiston, Mary Rose Casero and the DiMino Family; St. John's Episcopal Church; St. John's Episcopal Church Knitters; Town of Porter Republican Party; Village of Youngstown Mayor Raleigh Reynolds and the Board of Trustees; Village of Youngstown office staff; Village of Youngstown Department of Public Works; Youngstown Garden Club; Youngstown Lions Club; Youngstown Study Club; and the Youngstown Women's Club.
In the photos, scenes from this year's annual Youngstown/Town of Porter Community Holiday Baskets project. (Submitted photos).