Annual holiday toy, food drive is different this year
The 39th Annual Holiday Toy and Food Distribution looked a lot different this year.
Normally, both the toys and food are distributed at the Morgantown Readiness Center, but like so many events this year it had to be held outside because of COVID-19.
As a result, the Christmas food drive was held as a drive-thru event Friday at the former Ramada Inn, off Scott Avenue.
Christian Help took the lead on the toy distribution, Janette Lewis, community impact director for the United Way of Monongalia and Preston counties, said.
Mountaineer Food Bank provided the food Friday, which included “wonderful food” such as chicken wings, blueberries, vegetables, fruits and eggs, Lewis said.
Servenado Arredondo, United Way engagement manager, said people started lining up at 8 a.m. and they expected to serve at least 500 cars. Lewis said every mobile food drive since the pandemic started has had more and more people.
There were more than enough volunteers to handle the task. Arredondo said the volunteer situation was “amazing.”
Volunteers loaded food into the cars as drivers made their way to the Ramada Inn building, as cold winds blew and a light rain came down.
Arredondo said there were several large groups of volunteers, including the basketball and volleyball teams from Morgantown High School and a group of soldiers from the West Virginia National Guard.
Cpl. Brandon Taylor, of the 1st 150th Calvary, said he’s participated in several food drives over the years because it fits in with the National Guard mission of helping your community and state.
The Morgantown Relators Association also made over 400 home deliveries of food, Arredondo said.
The Christmas food drive also makes sure man’s furry companions are fed for the holidays.
Ruthann Shinn, president of the Monongalia County Humane Society, said this year they had about 11,000 pounds of cat food and dog food to hand out.
She said it was important to make sure pets had a Christmas and were well-fed, too.