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Charities wish for Christmas donations

A couple of cans of green beans might not look like much, but they could help bring a smile to a child’s face Christmas morning.

Wednesday, November 24, 1999

A couple of cans of green beans might not look like much, but they could help bring a smile to a child’s face Christmas morning. But for countless needy families to have food this holiday season, more of the fortunate ones need to look inside themselves for the Christmas spirit of giving, said Cline McNeely, Community Mission Outreach director.

"This has been our lowest year for donations," McNeely said. "We need green beans, corn and peas – just the staple canned goods. That would be a tremendous help. A lot of other things we also really need like sugar and flour. Right now, we don’t have any of those items. Green beans – we don’t have any at all."

The organization was limited in what it gave out to families for Thanksgiving, but the goal is to fill at least 400 baskets for Christmas.

The food baskets will not only give a needy family a decent meal Christmas morning but last for several weeks after the big day, McNeely said.

"And after the baskets are taken care of we still try to look forward to January because these people still need help," he said.

And offering a small token to the food bank can bring many rewards, McNeely added.

"Several times we’ve gotten letters later on in life from people I’ve helped get through," he said. "They’ll come back with a card, a thank you."

McNeely still remembers one particular lady, he said.

"One lady in Beckley wrote and told me how thankful she was," he said. "While she was here, she really needed the help and we helped her get over the hard times and now she’s doing well."

Helping others makes it all worthwhile, said the Rev. Jim Cremeans of the Ironton City Welfare Mission.

"Donating items shows how thankful you are for what you have and I think it makes people feel good," Cremeans said. "A gentleman once called me to pick up a sack of groceries and I’ll never forget what he said. He said ‘now I’ll be able to sit down and enjoy my meal knowing that I’ve helped someone else have a good meal.’"

And the recipients appreciate whatever small gift they get, Cremeans added.

"It’s just a thank you and you can see it in their face how much they appreciate that someone cares about them," he said.

And there are more and more people in the area and county who need an occasional helping hand, Cremeans added.

"There’s still a lot of needy in the area," he said. "I think it’s just because everything else has increased so much – housing and utilities. It takes more and more of their income to supply the basics."

But no one need worry about not having a big Thanksgiving dinner to go to, Cremeans said.

The mission is preparing 25 20-pound turkeys for the big day. The dinner will be at noon and everyone is welcome regardless of income, Cremeans said.

"That’s just the way we’ve always done it," he said. "We just count the plates when we’re done. Last year we served 477 meals."

Once the Thanksgiving holiday is over, the mission will not stop working.

Volunteers will begin collecting donations for more than 600 Christmas baskets.

"We start taking names for Christmas Nov. 29 through Dec. 12," Cremeans said. "Donations are doing pretty good, but they usually get better when we get closer to the holidays. Christmas really takes a pile of stuff."

People may register for the Christmas baskets by going to the mission at 710 N. Fifth St. Proof of income and residence is required.

Anyone who wants to make a donation to the CMO may contact McNeely at 867-4338 or 867-6628. They also may drop off donations at the Chesapeake Community Center or mail them to P.O. Box 8 or 911 Rockwood Ave., Chesapeake, Ohio 45619.

If donating money, McNeeley said to make the check out to Community Mission Outreach.

Information on how to make a donation to the Ironton City Welfare Mission may be obtained by calling 532-5041. Pickups are available.

Or donations may be dropped off at the mission, or mailed to 710 N. Fifth St., Ironton, Ohio 45638.