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North Parkersburg Baptist Church holding coat, toy, food drive

Parkersburg WTAP-TV logo Parkersburg WTAP-TV 11/30/2020 Sarah Cooke
a book on a table: WTAP © Provided by Parkersburg WTAP-TV WTAP

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - For over 30 years, the North Parkersburg Baptist Church has held an annual holiday drive in which it provides coats, toys, and food to children in need. Inspired by the film “Miracle on 34th Street”, the church often refers to its drive as the “Miracle on 31st Street,” a reference to its location in Parkersburg.

The drive’s official name is the Miracles of Christmas. On November 29, residents were invited to donate children’s coats and drop them off at the church. On December 6, it will be accepting donations of toys. And on December 13, it will take donations of food which will be given to families with children in the Head Start program, as well as other families in need.

In addition to the Sunday drop-offs at the church, there are a number of other drop-off locations where area residents can leave their donations during the week. Those interested may also purchase items for the drive online via the church’s Wal-Mart gift registries.

Each year, the church connects with area schools, who provide information about students who are in need. This year, working with the schools has been more difficult due to the irregular schedules many schools have experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the church and the 12 participating schools managed to keep the tradition alive despite those challenges.

“The principals and teachers worked so well on this program. They got us [information about] the coats they needed and the toys they needed...It all worked really well,” said Susie Meredith who works in pastoral care at the church. “Everything is so different [due to COVID-19] but there is such a need right now. And it’s not just for food, toys, and coats. People are in need, they’re down, some have lost their jobs. They need moral support, and love and guidance, and that’s what we’re here for,” she added.

The opportunity to provide support to those in the community who are in need has had a special significance to Meredith, who has been involved since the beginning.

“It’s such a joy, being able to provide this. It was just a dream 30 years ago. Our staff back then and our pastor sat around a conference table and said, how can we help?” Meredith said.

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