No one can doubt that Wheeling lives up to its name – The Friendly City. You witness this every day. People exchanging hellos, courtesies extended to lend a hand; hold doors open and allow other to go first. Yes, we are a friendly city.
It is friendly and it comes from the hearts of our community. We have a community of caring people who ask for help, not for themselves, but for others, to help others. The city has another virtue too. In the good book Matthew (6:3-4) says, “when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so your giving may be in secret…”
I’ve been so moved and inspired by the giving I’ve witnessed enough to share some of these secrets:
- Christine Thomas, employee at Quaker Steak & Lube gathered a group of employees and friends to help a single mother of three with Christmas gifts to put under her tree. The family also received dinner and all of the fixings for Christmas Day dinner.
- Megan Ferda -Mowery is hosting her 3rd annual sock drive for the homeless, in honor of her grandmother, Mary Alice Romshak. Her Facebook post:
“SOCKS! It’s that time of year for the Sock Drive benefitting the Winter Freeze shelter at YSS in Wheeling, WV. I do the drive in memory of my grandmother Mary Alice Romshak who always gave everyone socks for Christmas, and to share with these folks the love of Jesus. If you would like to donate gently used or new socks to the drive, please contact me through private message. For those of you who mail, my address has changed in the last year, so get with me on that! The deadline this year will be the second week in January. Thank you so much for blessing these people in this small but very helpful way!”
- Erin and Jack Hill, Debby Hamstead, Kelly Clemons and Velvet Park hosted the third annual toy drive for kids at YSS, the organization formerly known as Big Brothers/ Big Sisters of the Upper Ohio Valley.
- Youth Services decided to preserve the valuable mentoring program and hired its social worker Connie Ball to continue her work matching adults with kids. They were in need of Christmas gifts and Erin and her group from AEP came along just at the right time, with all things a sleigh. They designed, built and delivered a sleigh filled it with toys.
- Roberta Robinson Olejasz from Robinson Auto Group along with the help of Otto and the Robinson employees hosted Stuff the Truck. They spent the day in very cold temperatures collecting toys and clothing for the organization formerly known as Big Brothers/ Big Sisters. Connie Ball was wondering where the kids’ gifts were going to come from this year. They were in need of clothing and new winter coats. Roberta called, we picked up the items and the parents were able to pick out what they needed.
- Charlene Frazier is fostering giving to the needy with the 4th & 5th grade classes at Washington Lands Elementary School & Center McMechen Elementary School in Marshall County. They donated hot chocolate mixes & Styrofoam cups to the Winter Freeze Shelter. The students were completing “31 Days of Random Acts of Kindness”. The cups had a special inspirational message reminding the guests that they are not forgotten.
- Meredith Dailer, Assistant Principal of Triadelphia Middle School, hosted a canned food drive for one week. They wanted to collect for YSS’ transitional living youth at the McCrary Center. Their goal was to collect 400 non-perishable canned goods. They exceeded their expectations by 250 percent, collecting 1,000 non-perishable canned goods.
- Braden Wade, second grade student at West Liberty Elementary School, came up with the idea to host, “Operation Spread the Warmth”. He wrote a letter to his principal, Stacy Greer, who embraced and supported Braden’s leadership in giving. This is not his first time giving to the needy. When he was younger he participated with a sleeping bag drive at Sikora Montessori. Braden created this event and collected blankets for the Winter Freeze Shelter. The young man collected 126 blankets in just six days!
- Jared Thompson, Senior Producer /Engineer WLU Channel 14, called and asked for a family that he could help out with Christmas. The fun began when he started his shopping trip. It took multiple trips to the stores to buy every item on the kids’ lists. Jared went above and beyond and wrapped each and every gift plus delivered them to Youth Services System.
- Alex Jackson lives in Huntington, W.Va. He called YSS and asked if there was a family that he could help with Christmas gifts. After being sent the list, he purchased everything on the list and then had them sent to Wheeling one evening so the family would have a terrific Christmas.
- For the past four years, the staff at Ye Olde Alpha hosts the, “Ugly Server Contest” and gives the proceeds to YSS. Some who want to be politically correct and changed the name to be the, “Ugly Sweater Contest” Either way, this group of employees had a blast dressing up for 12 days in some of the most elaborate sweaters possible. This year, I saw many with battery operated lights. Bob and Stephanie Hitchman, owners of the Hampton Inn Wheeling, donate along with Charlie Schlegel to round up the donation.
To all those who perform and teach children random acts of kindness, to be those who give selfishly, to all there whole giving is rooted in compassion, Thank you! And remember “There your Father, who sees that is done with secret will abound you”!