By Terry Duffy
Call it another success for Youngstown.
Despite the many ravages from COVID-19 throughout the year, the Village of Youngstown community again stepped up to the plate and came through for the annual holiday program to assist needy families in the River Region.
Organizers of the Youngstown/Town of Porter Community Holiday Baskets Program report this year’s campaign was “a great success” with 49 needy families and 106 children assisted for Christmas.
“We are so grateful to so many community members and organizations who were especially generous with their gifts of time, food and children’s gifts, as well as monetary donations,” program chairwoman Rita Rolfe said. “The Youngstown Lions Club, our biggest annual supporter, not only gave a large monetary donation, but also bought many specific gifts that were on needy children’s wish lists. Many other organizations were also a big help.”
Gift organizing chairwoman Janet Brooks said, throughout the week of Dec. 6-11, dozens of volunteers (donning masks and social distancing) worked daily at the Village Red Brick Community Center. Their efforts included organizing and wrapping the donated gifts for each family, as well as sorting and packing foods for families. On Saturday, Dec. 12, volunteer drivers joined in to send the children’s gifts and donated foods to needy families.
“All together, there over 150 wonderful volunteers who helped our Community Holiday Baskets Program this year!” Brooks said.
She added that, due to the overwhelming support received from the community, the program would be able to assist even more, with additional food gift cards to be distributed in January and February.
Organizations that assisted in this effort included: A&M Auto Services; Boy Scout Troop 829-Youngstown; the estate of Marie Stephens; Fidelis Care; First Presbyterian Church deacons; First Presbyterian Church Women’s Association; Lewiston-Porter United Teachers Association; Lewiston -Porter Elementary retired teachers and staff; Swissmar; DiMino Lewiston Tops; Mary Rose Casero and the DiMino family; St. Bernard’s Altar and Rosary Society; St. John’s Episcopal Church congregation; St. John Lutheran Church congregation; Town of Porter office staff; U.S. Coast Guard Niagara; Victoria’s Family Hair Care; Village of Youngstown Mayor Raleigh Reynolds and Board of Trustees; Village of Youngstown office staff; Village of Youngstown Department of Public Works; Youngstown Free Library; Youngstown Garden Club; Youngstown Lions Club; Youngstown Study Club; Youngstown Women’s Club; and the Youngstown Yacht Club.
“Thanks to everyone who helped, and happy New Year,” Rolfe said.