Christmas Basket collections begin Nov. 22; residents asked to help annual River Region drive
By Terry Duffy
We’re just into November and, Christmas, as we all know, is still a few weeks off. But that isn’t stopping some folks in Youngstown from getting into the holiday gift-giving mindset a little earlier.
You see, with all those disruptions to our lives from COVID-19, organizers of the Youngstown/Town of Porter Christmas Basket program are once again coming together to serve those in need in our community during the holidays.
“This year, we will provide gifts for needy children from their wish lists, and grocery gift cards plus donated nonperishable food for each family,” organizer Beverly Roach said.
Roach, who coordinates this program with a number of participants, including the Lewiston-Porter retired teachers, LPUT, the Youngstown Yacht Club and area businesses, said the goal is get the word out early to the River Region community to donate so that the program, which provides Christmas gift items to the needy, will again be a success.
“We want to make sure that we’re able to fill those gift lists for the kids and food boxes for families,” she said.
So you want to help? Well, here’s how.
Roach said participating businesses throughout Porter are once again placing nonperishable food donation boxes at their locations for drop-offs of canned and dry food stuffs and the like for families. The campaign will run at locations in Youngstown and Ransomville from Monday, Nov. 22, to Tuesday, Dec. 14.
Members of Boy Scout Troop 829 will collect foodstuffs from area residents throughout Youngstown on Sunday, Dec. 12.
“If you received a flyer, place nonperishable food in bags on your porch or by your mailbox before 10 a.m. on Dec. 12,” Roach said.
Donations are sought for the annual Youngstown Christmas Basket program. (Submitted photo)
Food boxes will be accepted at the Youngstown Free Library in the Village Red Brick Community Center with collections taking place on Dec. 12 and 13. Food drop-offs can also be made at Porter Town Hall in coming weeks. Roach said those desiring to make a cash donation for gift cards and children’s gifts may do so by making checks payable to the Youngstown Civic Guild and mailing to 337 Riverview Drive, Youngstown, NY 14174.
“Or be an angel! Provide a gift or a gift card for a child,” she said. For more information, contact Janet Brooks at 716-425-0952 or email [email protected].
“Last year, we were able to give more gift cards after Christmas,” Roach said. “We had more donations; we were able to give gift cards, even into March.”
Once this phase of the donations is complete, Roach said community volunteers would be needed to help wrap children’s gifts and package the donated foods for delivery. Those interested in volunteering are asked to come to the Red Brick from Dec. 13-17. For more information, contact Brooks or Rita Rolfe (716-998-2809).
Volunteers will also be needed to help with deliveries, which will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday Dec. 18. Those interested are asked to contact Colleen Johnson Summerville at 716-531-6701.
Finally, Roach is putting out the call to residents to help them help others by suggesting they provide the name of a needy child or family for Christmas.
“If you know families in need, and they live in Youngstown and Town of Porter, tell them to leave their phone number and a request to register for a Christmas basket at the Youngstown village office by Dec. 9,” Roach said. “They will only need to give their phone number.”
For more information, call village office at 716-745-7721 or contact Rolfe.
“We will return the call and register them for a Christmas basket,” Roach said. “We keep all information confidential. Thanks for joining us in spreading the true spirit of the season!”
Depending on community response, Roach said she would like to continue this endeavor into the future.