Randy Atkins, a retired Teamster and local union leader, helps carry toy and food donations into the Children's Home Society's office building and shelter on Greenbrier Street.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Members of Teamsters Local 175 delivered more than $15,000 worth of food and toys to the Children's Home Society early Monday morning.Five hundred pounds of potatoes were carried into the group's headquarters on Greenbrier Street, near the road leading up to Yeager Airport.So were scores of boxes and cartons filled with cranberry juice, soups, chili, canned tuna, soda, macaroni and cheese, sugar, jellies, peanut butter, saltines, vanilla wafers, pudding snacks, mustard, flour, coffee and oatmealDolls, stuffed animals, dump trucks, skateboards, puzzles, baby doll strollers, puzzles, games and other toys filled dozens of big plastic bags.It took 18 people nearly an hour to unload all the Christmas gifts from a packed delivery truck. Half were Teamsters members, while the other half worked for the Children's Home Society."I am really inspired by your gifts. It is heartening to know how many people they will help," said Stephen Tuck, Children's Home Society's new chief executive officer.Ken Hall, president of Local 175 and secretary-treasurer of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, said, "We have been doing this for 12 years. What better can we do to help kids who might not have a Christmas?"This makes our members feel very good. This is their chance to give something back. Our members make more than most people do. Most of our kids and grandkids get way more than they need for Christmas.
"This is more rewarding, Hall said. "We are all a family. The whole concept of the Teamsters is to help others."Local 175 set a new record this year by raising over $15,000 for Christmas gifts, surpassing its previous record, set last year, of $10.000, Hall said.Donations came from active and retired workers. On Saturday, the union held a "Breakfast With Santa" at its South Charleston headquarters."More than 300 people attended. Then we went out to stores. Half of us went to grocery stores and the other half bought toys.
"Our members brought in their kids and grandkids. I can't think of any greater lesson for our kids than to help poor kids," Hall said.Mary White, chief operations officer for the Children's Home Society shelter, said, "The Teamsters helped people who wouldn't have toys and food during the Christmas holidays. They have been doing this for over a decade."We will distribute these donations to 400 families, which will give them food for the next couple of weeks when their children won't get free breakfasts and lunches at school. This helps."
A shelter on the building's second floor, above the Children's Home Society's offices, focuses on helping children between the ages of 12 and 17. All of them go to local schools in the Charleston area."We have a lot of volunteers," White said. "We have at least 10 kids all the time. Some come in and don't have anything with them. Many have been sexually or physically abused."After everyone finished unloading all the food and toys from the delivery truck into Children's Home Society building, White held a brief thank-you reception."We have 10 shelters across the state. Last year, we served a little more than 12,000 kids. We couldn't do it without good people like you," White said to the Teamsters.Private donations fund the Children's Home Society.The organization helps to find foster parents for children who need care outside their natural families for extended periods of time. The group also helps get children adopted from unplanned teen pregnancies.
Today, the Children's Home Society's operates main facilities in Charleston, Huntington, Lewisburg, Martinsburg, Morgantown, Parkersburg, Princeton, Romney and Wheeling. The group also operates 10 emergency child shelters across the state.More information is available on the group's website at: www.childhswv.org
.Reach Paul J. Nyden at email@example.com