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Christmas Wishes Made Possible by You

These bicycles and helmets are sure to make some local children smile on Christmas morning. They were purchased through donations to the Wheeling Salvation Army.

By HEATHER ZIEGLER

Life Editor

It’s four days before Christmas, a day celebrated by Christians throughout the world. Are you ready?

Everywhere we turn, we have reminders to shop for this or that. The malls have been busy. If you are like me, you have fretted over the perfect gifts for those special to your heart.

And while I have contributed to the coffers of tri-state retailers, there are some things that just can’t be bought in any store.

In recent days, this newspaper has been inundated with the news of giving. From the smallest of parcels from school children to checks amounting in the thousands of dollars — we have learned of the generosity of this Ohio Valley at every turn.

While we have our share of people in need, Christmas time brings out the best in our valley. No one should be without a gift under their tree, especially children. Many, many social service groups have quietly worked toward making this holiday wonderful for those struggling to make ends meet.

A food drive by Wheeling Central Catholic High School students earlier this month helped fill the pantry at Catholic Charities’ 18th Street Center which feeds hundreds of walk-ins and shut-ins each day.

Now would be a good time to look down the street and donate to the Soup Kitchen of Greater Wheeling. It’s no secret that donations of all kinds slough off after the holidays. However, the need is greater in winter when some people are choosing to pay their heating bills over buying food. Remember that if you are still in a giving mood.

The YSS Freeze Shelter has seen an uptick in the number of homeless it provides beds and hot food for on these cold nights. Extra blankets, toiletries, clothing, boots and more are always on their wish list. Thanks to all those who have already made a difference for those utilizing the Freeze Shelter’s facilities.

The Salvation Army on Thursday packed up huge bags of toys and other gifts for families who sought a little help. Wheeling Rotary club members recently rang the bells for the SA’s red kettle campaign and collected several thousand dollars in one night.

Local police and sheriffs’ departments teamed up with Macy’s and collected a large truck full of toys recently, showing the community they can be a great bunch of softies when it comes to the children and families they serve.

The Wheeling Elks club dug deep and collected funds to fill boxes of food to feed families for several days.

Angel trees have been stripped of their gift requests throughout the local area. Every need — from veterans to animal shelters, have been considered. Many wishes will have been granted on Dec. 25.

Imagine a local church paying off scores of layaways, surprising shoppers on very tight budgets. It happened here and a shout-out goes to St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Wheeling.

And the continued generosity of those who help the Bethlehem Apostolic Temple and its pastor, the Rev. Darryl Cummings, cannot be overlooked. Despite losing one of its major sponsors this year, others have stepped up in a big way including the Fitzsimmons and Contraguerro families.

There are so many more, too many to mention here, who have put aside their own needs to help those with less. It’s what we do in this Ohio Valley and we should be proud of that. Thanks to all of you.

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