BUCKHANNON – A local car dealership donated $5,000 this week to the Upshur Parish House to help provide food for Easter.
Buckhannon Toyota general manager Kip Cottrill presented Upshur Parish House executive director Kristi Wilkerson with a $5,000 check on Thursday, March 9.
“The owner saw the piece on My Buckhannon about how the demand for baskets was way up, and we like to help when we can,” Cottrill said. “If there’s a need and we can help, we always try to help. That has always been our philosophy.”
Wilkerson said the Parish House has experienced a 25 percent increase in requests for services since September.
“There’s a really great need that continues in this community, and particularly the holiday food box program,” Wilkerson said. “Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter — sometimes that’s the only time of the year we see certain neighbors. Many of our neighbors can make their budget stretch month-to-month, but buying a ham or a turkey is more than their budget allows. That’s where we step in and help them so they can celebrate just like anyone else would with a complete Easter meal. That’s what this money will go for.”
The Easter baskets will include a ham, several sides and a dessert.
“We can always use the food, but this covers our ham and all those extras that we will have to purchase, so we’re in really good shape,” Wilkerson said. “We can’t say thank you enough to Buckhannon Toyota. Anytime there’s something family or child-related, they step up and help us every time. It’s really appreciated.”
The Parish House is preparing more Easter food boxes than ever before because of the demand.
“For Easter, we would normally have between 450 and 500,” Wilkerson said. “This year, we are preparing for 600. For Thanksgiving, we would normally do 650, but this past November, we did 809. The numbers are really something we’ve never seen before.”
Distribution of the boxes will begin on April 1 via curbside pickup.
“We’d like for folks to follow our income guidelines, which are set by federal poverty guidelines, but if there’s a family in need, a family needs this meal to have an Easter celebration, they’re welcome to come and get one,” Wilkerson said.
Distribution on Saturday, April 1 will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and continue on Monday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Upshur Parish House also provides more than just food to those in need.
“We often get requests for things that SNAP doesn’t pay for, so shampoos, deodorants, toothpaste, laundry detergent, dish soap, things like that,” Wilkerson said. “We can always use those items, so that’s what we need the most right now.”