POINT PLEASANT — Its often been said that it’s better to give than receive and for well over 20 years, the Point Pleasant Volunteer Fire Department has been doing just that with their free holiday food baskets.
Applications are once again being taken for the food baskets at Ty Somerville’s State Farm office starting Monday, Nov. 26 and continuing through Dec. 1. Those who wish to apply can do so during regular office hours which are 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and 9 a.m. - noon, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Only those living within the fire district covered by the Point Pleasant Volunteer Fire Department are eligible to apply simply because they don’t have the resources to offer the baskets to the whole county. It is a major undertaking to collect enough food and money to offer the baskets of which 225 were distributed last year. As to how many get distributed this year, well, that is dependant on how many donations the department receives for the program.
Both non-perishable food items and monetary donations can be dropped off at the fire station on Jackson Ave., Somerville’s State Farm office, Crow-Hussell Funeral Home, the Point Pleasant Municipal Building and Twin Oaks Federal Credit Union of Point Pleasant. Monetary donations will be used to purchase food which fill the baskets.
Typically, the baskets contain bread, potatoes, milk and meat and other canned goods. Members of the fire department spend Dec. 23 packing the baskets and all day on Christmas Eve delivering them to families.
Jeremy Bryant and Steve Cavender, chief and assistant fire chief of the PPVFD respectively, said every year the basket giveaway is a “community effort.”
“We can’t do it alone…people seem to always step up,” Bryant said. “We (the firefighters) are just the facilitators of the program.”
Of course being in charge of who gets the baskets, who buys the contents, who packs them and delivers them is a huge undertaking in itself. Many firefighters are so used to this undertaking they wouldn’t know what to do on Christmas Eve if the program stopped because even though it’s hard work, it’s a tradition.