POINT PLEASANT — It’s a local holiday tradition, and the “Mason County Family Christmas” is set to take place once again this year.
The event will be held Dec. 9, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the former Central Elementary School gymnasium, located at 1200 Main Street in Point Pleasant. It is free of charge and open to the public.
Held for over 16 years, the Family Christmas brings community agencies, organizations and individuals together to provide holiday activities the entire family can enjoy together. It is hosted by the Family Resource Network (FRN).
According to Greg Fowler, executive director of the FRN, usually 250 people or more go though the event.
“It’s a big effort from around the entire county,” Fowler said. “It’s a group of a lot of people who care.”
Many activities are planned for the children, including visits with Santa and face painting. Community agencies and organizations will host craft tables where the children can make items to give as gifts or to decorate their Christmas trees at home. The board of education gives away a vast amount of new books, Fowler stated, and cookies and punch will be served.
Fowler said he is happy to be a part of the Family Christmas. He stated it is sad sometimes, however, because the things some children take away from the event are the most they get for Christmas.
Fowler added that the groups attending usually join together to take care of any noticeable needs of the children. One year, he said, there were children who needed coats, and they arranged for them to get jackets before the day ended.
Families are given bags to put their crafts and items in, and those bags also contain information from agencies whose programs might be beneficial for their needs, such as Women, Infants and Children (WIC), medical health plans, and more, according to Fowler. Any agency or group wanting to place brochures or information into the bags are invited to join at the gymnasium on Dec. 8 at noon.
Fowler said over the years, there have been many faithful groups who attend and contribute to Family Christmas. The Community Educational Outreach Service (formerly homemakers clubs), Haer Bears 4-H Club, Career Advantage program, Mountain State Healthy Families, and others have been longtime supporters, he added.
There is still space available for anyone wishing to set up a table. Additional information can be obtained by calling Fowler at 304-593-0072.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.