Greater Hancock Council of Churches hosts 'Christmas For Others'

Food packages, donated clothes and donated toys given away during event

December 16, 2011|By DON AINES |
  • Etta Younker of Hancock picks up donated groceries Friday during Christmas For Others at the Hancock Community Center.
By Don Aines, Staff Writer

HANCOCK — Christmas comes every year on Dec. 25, but "Christmas for Others" arrived Friday for hundreds of Hancock area residents.

The parking lot of the Town Hall and Community Center was packed with vehicles, while inside about 40 volunteers with the Greater Hancock Council of Churches were helping people fill shopping carts with food for a complete Christmas dinner, plus enough items for a few more meals.

"This is my first time. I should have come years ago, but I didn't," said Etta Mae Younker.

Retired for several years, the senior citizen said she will use the food to host her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren on Christmas.

"It means a lot to me. I won't have to buy a lot of groceries," Younker said.

She was among 45 people living alone, mostly senior citizens, who signed up to receive food packages, said Debbie Murphy, the director of Christmas for Others.

Another 80 families were also signed up for food packages, bringing the total number served to 309, she said.

In the hallway of the community center, people sifted through stacks of donated clothing on tables. In another room, a mother looked over donated toys.

Christmas for Others has been a tradition in the Hancock area for more than a quarter of a century, said Murphy, the wife of Mayor Daniel Murphy.

Churches, civic organizations, businesses and individuals donate money for the purchase of fresh meat and produce for the food packages, while other foods are donated, she said.

Murphy did not know how much food was donated this year, but Town Manager David Smith said one delivery from one faith-based ministry in Pennsylvania exceeded three tons.

Those living in and around Hancock benefit from the annual event. The volunteers include people from nearby communities in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, Murphy said.

"... It's great to help people," volunteer Steve Holohan of Little Orleans said.

"In this economy, things are down quite a bit."

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