Tis the season to help others
Each year we urge you to show the Goodwill to Men spirit of the Christmas season by helping others. This year, the need is greater than most of us can ever recall.
The national economic crisis is taking a toll on nearly everyone, but especially those who already had trouble putting food on the table and paying their heating bills. A lot of folks are worried about their jobs or retirement incomes. A hard winter lies ahead for too many of our friends and neighbors.
If you're looking for a good cause this holiday season, there's no shortage of them.
At the top of our list is McEAT, short for the Morgan County Assistance Team. The totally local charity was organized to help people in the early 1980s recession. Now it's facing another economic downturn.
Run by volunteers, the McEAT food pantry provides canned goods and staples to the needy. A few months ago, the shelves were almost bare. After the situation was publicized, donations came in, but, as we said at the time, the need is constant and longterm.
This year, canned goods collected locally by the West Virginia State Troopers' food drive – Troopers Can Help – will also be delivered to McEAT. A collection box is in the lobby of the Berkeley Springs State Police Detachment office.
In addition to their food bank, McEAT is sometimes called upon to aid families that are struggling with emergencies, prescription costs, and utility and fuel bills.
Cash donations are always needed. They may be sent to McEAT, P.O. Box 988, Berkeley Springs, WV 25411.
Adopt a Family
If you're thinking about making Christmas brighter for others, consider the Starting Points program. Once again, Starting Points is working with Morgan County Schools in an adopt a family project.
Donations typically consist of an outfit for a child, plus a food basket or grocery store gift certificate. Toiletries, cleaning products and paper goods are suggested as optionals.
To adopt a family, call Starting Points at 258-5600, or contact a school office as soon as possible. They coordinate lists and also work with the Salvation Army to make sure there is no duplication.
In addition, Starting Points has a Books Under The Tree collection. Remember how important new books used to be for kids at Christmas? Books are sought for children, as well as gift certificates for middle school or high school students.
Toys for Tots
Making sure that kids get presents at Christmas is also the goal of Toys for Tots, which is run by the Berkeley Springs Lions Club and the U. S. Marine Corps.
New, unwrapped toys are being sought for children of all ages. Collection boxes are at CNB, BB&T, Dollar General Store, Movie Gallery, Rankin's Physical Therapy & Fitness, Clark's Thompson Gas, Roc's, Family Dollar and Dawson's Ace Hardware.
The toys, along with the books collected by Starting Points, will be distributed at a Toys for Tots party on December 12. Eligible children receive invitations through their schools.
Donations may be sent to Toys for Tots, 650 Mawani Village Drive, Berkeley Springs. For more details or to have toys picked up, call Kim Mason at 258-6835.
Give of yourself
Finally, we bet every volunteer and charitable group in the Morgan County area would be thrilled with a gift of your time and effort.
Any year is a good one to get involved with the community, but the year ahead will be full of challenges at every level. Try picking a group or cause that fits your interests and talents, contact them and ask what needs to be done.
We have no doubt that sowing charitable donations and helping others this Christmastime will reap you a crop of the holiday spirit that the season is really supposed to be about.