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Summer Food Basket Giveaway Planned

WHEELING – With many businesses forced to furlough or lay off workers due to closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, some families in Wheeling are facing new financial hardships this summer.

Bethlehem Apostolic Temple will hold its second drive-through food basket giveaway of the year on Saturday to assist those who have fallen on hard times since the pandemic began.

The church has held food giveaways several times a year since 1990, according to the Rev. Darrell Cummings, the lead pastor at the church. Normally, these take place around Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter, with an additional giveaway held every August called “Adopt-a-Student.”

However, volunteers were unable to organize the usual Easter giveaway this year, Cummings said, after health department officials advised against an event that might draw a large crowd and become a safety risk.

The church postponed the Easter event until early May, when volunteers, assisted by the West Virginia National Guard, held their first drive-through giveaway.

Cummings said the church recorded a total of 586 families that came to collect a pre-made basket of food, exhibiting the level of need in Ohio County.

The event on Saturday will be similar to the previous giveaway held in May, although the National Guard will not be in attendance, Cummings said. He hopes there will be fewer families in need than there were a month ago, but he still wants to help anyone who continues to struggle to make ends meet.

Each giveaway box will contain enough food to feed a family of four for a week. The event is first come, first serve, and no proof of financial need or unemployment is required to participate in the food giveaway, said Cummings.

“If you think we can help you, you should come,” he urged. “We’re just trying to be good neighbors.”

The drive-through giveaway will be held at the North Wheeling Community Dream Center, located at 407 Main St. across from the Bethlehem Temple. Anyone interested in picking up a basket should come between 10 and 11 a.m. Saturday. Pre-registration is not required, as registration will occur at the event.

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