For more than 40 years, the Holiday Toy and Food Distribution has put food on the table and toys under the tree for area families in need, creating both huge smiles and full bellies.
And it’s happening once again this coming Thursday at the West Virginia Army National Guard Morgantown Readiness Center, thanks to a partnership between the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties and Christian Help.
From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. that day, families in need will be able to take part in the drive-thru event and receive food for the holidays from Mountaineer Food Bank, whose volunteers will be at the event with their tractor-trailer.
No registration is needed for food; it is on a first-come, first-served basis. Folks are just asked to join the lineup with their vehicles.
Toy registration, which was handled by Christian Help, has already passed. Families with questions about times to arrive for toy pickup or other questions about toy registration should call Christian Help at 304-296-0221.
“We’re so proud to continue this traditional holiday event, even though it’s changed quite a bit in recent years,” said Janette Lewis, community impact director with the United Way. “Because of COVID, we changed the format into a drive-thru a couple years ago, which ended up working pretty well. So well, in fact, that we decided to keep it that way again this year.”
Volunteers will be on hand to load items into vehicles, and since hundreds of people are served each year during the event, it takes an army of volunteers to make things run smoothly. But if you ask those volunteers, they will tell you it’s such a joy to work the distribution, and many of them come back every year because it’s so fulfilling.
“It’s a beautiful thing to see folks’ faces as they receive food and toys for the holidays,” Lewis said. “We know times are tough, especially with inflation, and everyone is feeling the rising costs. But to be able to put together a giveaway of this magnitude for folks in need is so rewarding.”
“Our volunteers are the best,” said Servando Arredondo, engagement manager for the United Way.
“They’ve loaded cars with food and toys in the sunshine, rainstorms and even in the snow. They are dedicated individuals full of holiday spirit and who are giving back to their community in a big way. We can’t thank them enough for helping to support people in need!”
Volunteers are still needed for the effort to distribute food, be toy runners and handle traffic. It’s easy to sign up at VolunteerMPC.org. Just click on the red “41st Annual Holiday Toy and Food Distribution” link.
The Readiness Center is at 90 Army Band Way, Morgantown. Those with food distribution questions should call United Way at 304-296-7525. Those with toy questions should call Christian Help at 304-296-0221.
AMANDA POSEY is the director of marketing and communications for the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties. She can be reached at email@example.com.