POINT PLEASANT — The Point Pleasant Volunteer Fire Department’s annual, free holiday food baskets are in need of, well, food.
The drive to collect food and money to stock the baskets began just after Thanksgiving, though donations have been slow to arrive this year. This has left many in the fire department concerned about how to fill the 200 baskets less fortunate families have signed up to receive.
Jeremy Bryant, fire chief, said he and fellow firefighters will be having a canned food drive for the baskets from 9 a.m. - noon, Saturday, Dec. 15 at both Foodland and Family Dollar in Point Pleasant. Canned vegetables and canned fruit are especially needed.
The PPVFD has been giving away the food baskets for well over 20 years. Only those living within the fire district covered by the PPVFD were 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 dependent on how many donations the department receives for the program but again, the department has already received around 200 requests. Those who requested the baskets had to go through a screening process to determine if they qualified.
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.
Those with the PPVFD have described the food basket giveaway as a “community effort.”
“We can’t do it alone … people seem to always step up,” Bryant has said. “We (the firefighters) are just the facilitators of the program.”
Bryant and the PPVFD hope the community once again intervenes to help others less fortunate have a Christmas meal with the firefighters taking care of the delivery of good will.