By Terry Duffy
The 2019 Community Christmas Baskets Program, an annual project of the Youngstown Civic Guild, saw a successful conclusion in the days before Christmas.
“Thank you to all of our community members who volunteered their time and also gave generously to make it a success,” commented Civic Guild member Rita Rolfe.
She reported 47 families were the recipients of hams donated by the Youngstown Lions Club, which provided food for a holiday dinner plus an assortment of canned goods, nonperishables and fruits, plus cookies made by the Youngstown Girls Scouts. In addition, a number of Tops gifts cards purchased with donated funds, or given by community members, went to brighten a number of family’s holidays. And 93 children were the recipients of clothing items plus toys and other Christmas treats.
“Each child has a volunteer ‘angel’ who buys for a child, including clothing and gifts. Some ‘angels’ buy for more than one child,” Rolfe said.
She noted for example that, “the Coast Guard Niagara takes a whole large family and buys for all the children. More gifts for children are provided by contributions of toys by the community.”
Others who contributed to the success of the Christmas Baskets Program were a number of Youngstown businesses that served as drop-off sites for the food collections. Included were Anchor Spirits, A&M Automotive, Everything Youngstown, the Village Diner, The Jug (Ontario House), Victoria’s Hair Care, Main Street Pizza, the Youngstown Rite Aid store, Youngstown Free Library and the Youngstown Yacht Club. Rolf noted YYC members collected a number of food and toy donations for the Christmas effort from their annual Wassail Bowl dinner dance held in early December. That event was attended by more that 100 members.
Still more who assisted were Youngstown Boy Scout Troop 829, whose members participated in the donated food pickups from area residences; students and teachers from the Lewiston-Porter School District; retired Lew-Port elementary teachers; members of Youngstown First Presbyterian Church and its Angel Tree; the Anthony DiMino family and Lewiston Tops; the Village of Youngstown; the Youngstown Lions Club; Youngstown Garden Club; Youngstown Free Library; members of St. John’s Episcopal and St. John’s Evangelical churches; and the Wilson High School boys basketball team.
All played a part throughout the campaign, either by collecting foodstuffs, assembling the food and gift baskets in the Red Brick gym from Dec. 16-19, or assisting with the deliveries to area families on Dec. 21.
“We had lots of volunteers, both older and younger … helping with load,” said Youngstown Civic Guild member Beverly Roach.
The Guild extended its thanks to all in the Youngstown, Porter and River Region community who assisted in this successful holiday effort.