Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
LUCASVILLE — The holiday season is a time for giving and helping one another. It was in that spirit that members of the Valley Township Volunteer Fire Department, Emmanuel United Methodist Church Food Pantry, and Center Street Church in Lucasville worked together Saturday to deliver more than 60 boxes of food to needy families in the Lucasville area.
“Every year we make up as many food baskets as we can — ham, milk, and everything to make up a nice Christmas dinner. This year we’re also doing sugar and Kool-Aid and extra boxes of cereal, and extra gallons of milk,” said Valley Fire Chief Teri Horton.
“It’s really sad to see some of those little kids going hungry, because the schools are sending food home now with these kids to provide for the weekend. Now we got two weeks for Christmas while they’re off of school, and it can be really hard on them and it’s a really hard thing to see.”
Horton said the department was “way ahead” in their collections this year. They raised $2,000 for the food drive, through community donations and a boot drive on U.S. 23. She said Special Touch in West Portsmouth also donated a pickup truck filled food supplies that they had left over from their own food drive.
“I had a lot of anonymous donations. People who didn’t want their names mentioned. They’d just come to my business and hand me 50 dollars. We’re really fortunate,” Horton said.
Joining the fire department this year was Emmanuel United Methodist Church Food Pantry and Center Street Church, both in Lucasville. Food pantry coordinators Nancy Stone and Karen Ratliff said the church collected nearly $900 from the church and local donations. With everyone’s combined effort, more than 60 boxes were stuffed with food for more than 260 people — including about 80 children, Horton said.
“They (the fire department) didn’t have enough money to do it on their on own and they know we do the food pantry ever month. So we decided to go together,” Ratliff said. “They got a lot more money than they expected, so they bought a lot more stuff.”
The pantry also hosted a special Thanksgiving holiday food drive with 50 boxes, but this is the first time they have participated in the Christmas drive with the Valley Township Volunteer Fire Department.
For families that missed the delivery, the Emmanuel UMC Food Pantry is open on the last Saturday of every month for Lucasville residents (with proof of local residence) to receive groceries or a hot meal or both. Ratliff said New Hope Baptist also contributed money to help supply the UMC Pantry.
“I thank everybody for helping. It was tremendous. Everybody came out,” Ratliff said.
Chief Horton said next year the department hopes to add hygiene baskets, coats and toys to their Christmas delivery.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org.