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Upshur Christmas Store prep well underway

BUCKHANNON – Christmas is right around the corner – at least it seems that way for Upshur County Christmas Store board members.

President of the Christmas Store’s board of directors, Curtis “Junior” Howes, addressed the Upshur County Commission Thursday, briefing the county on the nonprofit’s ongoing preparations and purpose.

Howes said the store believes in providing an affordable shopping experience that allows low-income families to shop for new Christmas gifts for their children. However, it also supplies families in need with food.

Howes asked the commission to approve setting up a donation area in the lobby of the Upshur County Courthouse Annex. The area will include two boxes – one for donations of new toys and/or stocking stuffers and a second for nonperishable food items, such as cans of soup.

Commissioner Terry Cutright made a motion to support the store by OK’ing the establishment of a drop-off area, which was seconded by commissioner Troy A. “Buddy” Brady prior to passing unanimously.

Howes said the Upshur County Christmas Store was established in 1989 to serve low-income families in the county by replicating a Christmas shopping experience that’s vastly more affordable.

The group stages various fundraisers throughout the year, including a strawberry pancake breakfast during the W.Va. Strawberry Festival and a freewill offering ham-and-turkey dinner in November at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church.

This year, they set up yard sale at the Upshur County Senior Center that earned more than $400.

But it’s not too late to support the Christmas Store’s cause. An Oct. 20 bingo event is slated to take place at the Moose Lodge and the ham-and-turkey dinner will be Nov. 10 at Chapel Hill UM Church.

The Christmas Store will be open from Dec. 4-7 at the Moose.

Applications to take part in the Christmas Store are typically sent home with students in the school system, but they’ll also be on-site at the Christmas Store in December. Parents who complete the application and meet the criteria will be assigned a specific time/day on which they may shop for their kids.

“We serve kids from newborns all the way to the age of 18 years old,” Howes explained. “They receive one new gift for $2. The other items that are available for free are books, puzzles, gloves, underwear, socks, hats, new coats, stocking stuffers, Christmas decorations.

“They are also given food because that’s one thing we think – no child in Upshur County should go hungry,” he added. “It’s a lot of hard work but very rewarding.”

Some families are in such a dire financial situation, they aren’t able to afford the $2 it costs to purchase a new toy or other item. In that case, the store’s board of directors picks up the tab, Howes said.

Want to help out? Donations may be mailed to P.O. Box 2004, Buckhannon, WV 26201.
In other county news, the commission passed a first reading of suggested revisions to the county’s 9-1-1 Addressing and Mapping ordinance. The ordinance provides for the assignment of names to streets/roadways, the maintenance of the mapping system, and posting of street signs and building numbers in Upshur County.

A copy of the revised ordinance is accessible at www.upshurcounty.org as a part of the Oct. 4 agenda packet.

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