WHEELING — Whether it was picking up a basket of food or just a few toys for their children,hundreds of local families will have a brighter Christmas this holiday season.
The gifts come courtesy of the Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center annual Christmas Gift Distribution which began Monday and concludes today. Nearly 400 local families who preregistered for the annual event are receiving food baskets and toys and gifts for their children.
Mark Phillips, the northern regional director for Catholic Charities of West Virginia, said the Neighborhood Center has been at its East Wheeling location for 50 years. This annual event is a way for the organization to reach out and provide assistance to families in need over the holiday season.
“For many years, we have done Christmas distribution of food and gifts for families,” Phillips said. “We will have about 400 families that will come through (the center).”
Families had to pre-register to participate in the gift distribution event.
“For all of the families that come through we essentially prepare Christmas dinner in a box. … People come ahead of time and sign up, and then we try to meet their needs,” he said.
While the majority of the food was supplied by Wheeling Central Catholic High School’s annual food drive this past weekend, toys and other gifts are donated by local businesses, organizations and individuals.
“They collected about 1,700 pounds of food. … It gets separated out into all these boxes,” Phillips said, while assisting a woman with carrying a box of groceries to the car.
Phillips said it’s very humbling to see how the valley comes together to help those in need.
“It’s remarkable to see the generosity of people,” he added.
The Christmas Gift Distribution will conclude today with an event scheduled from noon to 2 p.m for pre-registered families.