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Local organizations adjust to COVID-19 to continue giving during holidays

by Olivia Murray 

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in changes and cancellations for many area organizations who annually hold events dedicated to charity during the holiday season. However, these organizations are adapting to global circumstances to continue to offer ways to give to others in 2020, all while respecting social distancing guidelines and showing care for the health of the community.

Chestnut Ridge Church in Morgantown is holding a winter coat drive and community pickup through today. Acceptable items include gently-used or new coats, scarves, hats, and gloves for children, teenagers, and adults. The church has also set up an Amazon wishlist from which those interested can purchase new items to donate:

Items can be dropped off at the Chestnut Ridge Church lobby. Donated items are to be placed in designated bins within the lobby.  

All donations will be given to those in need or donated to local organizations. Community pickup days will be from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday  at the church’s lobby.

Morgantown Christian Help, United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties, and The Monongalia County Humane Society have partnered again this year to provide help to their communities through the 39th Annual Holiday Toy and Food Distribution.

The event will take place differently than it has previously due to COVID-19 safety and social distancing guidelines. This year, the toy and food aspects will be separated.

The toy distribution is  underway. Colleen Lankford, director at Christian Help, said that 966 children from 381 families are registered for gifts from community-donated toys according to categories of interest as reported by their parents and guardians. Toys are prepackaged for pickup. Distribution will occur the week before and after Thanksgiving, by appointment over 8 days, limited to 50 families per day. Photo identification, masks, and social distancing are required by the receiving guardian.

The food distribution will be supplied by Mountaineer Food Bank and The Monongalia County Humane Society and coordinated by United Way. It will take place at the former Ramada Inn Suite on Scott Ave. from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.  

Dec. 4. Food will be distributed through trunk drop. Pet food will also be available. Homebound individuals will still receive food deliveries through the Monongalia County Board of Realtors.

Those interested in participating in these events can contact Morgantown Christian Help at 304-296-0221.

Old Stone House Gift Shop, in downtown Morgantown, is in the midst of its 13th Annual Charity Partner Program.

Through Dec. 24, Old Stone House donates 10% of its gross sales to selected organizations during designated weeks: 

  • Nov. 20-26: St. Ursula Food Pantry and Outreach 
  • Nov. 27-Dec. 3: Pantry Plus More 
  • Dec. 4-10: CASA for Kids 
  • Dec. 11-17: Monongalia County Child Advocacy Center 
  • Dec. 18-24: Morgantown Meals on Wheels 

Old Stone House is at 313 Chestnut St. and is open from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and has added Sunday hours from noon.-4 p.m. through Dec. 20.

United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties is searching for volunteers to make Thanksgiving food box deliveries on Nov. 24. Each volunteer should expect to make 10 deliveries. Those interested can register at

Additionally, United Way is in need of donations in Battle of the Brands. This food drive competition runs through Nov. 26. Nonperishable items, cleaning supplies, and personal care items are donated to United Way and then distributed to local food pantries in Monongalia and Preston counties.

Items should be dropped off to one of the following area hotels. Participating parties have a chance to win a complementary night’s stay at the same locations: 

  • Residence Inn by Marriott Morgantown 
  • Hilton Garden Inn Morgantown 
  • Courtyard by Marriott Morgantown 
  •  Holiday Inn 
  • Morgantown 

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