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Forgotten Angels program sees need increase

KINGWOOD — Seventy- seven children will have gifts Christmas morning thanks to the North Central West Virginia Community Action Association’s Forgotten Angel Program.

Each year the program assists a limited number of families in the community with holiday gifts for children ages birth to 17.

“We saw our biggest increase this year with families who had never signed up for any assistance before,” NCWVCAA Community Case Manager Polly Williams said.

She attributed the increase to COVID-19 and the loss of jobs.

Williams said NCWVCAA  is the last program to give out applications for gifts and food.

“The schools and the Salvation Army do their applications first,” she said. “We have applications for those who for some reason miss the other programs’ deadlines or don’t know about them.” 

Once a family has signed up for Forgotten Angels, they are told when to pick up their food and gifts.

Williams said money and gifts for the program come from donations from churches, businesses and the community.

She said gifts also come from donation boxes located in businesses like the one at the Reedsville Dollar General.

“We have a local church that sends us checks for this program, and in October, I put out fliers for a toy drive,” she said.

“We appreciate the response. It was overwhelming,” Williams said. “We raised $3,000 for gifts.” 

She said sometimes people call WVCAA and ask to adopt a child for Christmas. When this happens, she said the person is given a list of what the child wants, their clothing sizes and  age. The gifts are brought to NCWVCAA and given to the child’s family.

Along with toys and clothing for children, NCWVCAA also provides food vouchers and a Save-A-Lot gift card to the families.

Tammy Laney, director of Food For Preston,  said her organization provided the Save-A-Lot gift cards for the program. She said money for cards came from the Milan Puskar Foundation.

Food for Preston is a nonprofit organization. Its 11 food pantries serve nearly 1,600 people each month.

“It’s all about working together,” Laney said. “Everyone is coming together to help these families who never needed help before.” 

Williams said she bought reusable gift bags for the project.

“They (the bags) are overflowing with toys and clothes, mittens and toboggans,” Williams said.

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