Reprinted with permission of The Nicholas Chronicle, Summersville, WV
SUMMERSVILLE—St. John Parish in Summersville made Christmas brighter for less fortunate families in the area with their annual Christmas food giveaway on Saturday, Dec. 14, in the Marist Hall.
According to John Whelan, coordinator of the food distribution project, a total of 217 families in the area received boxes of food.
“That is an increase of about 40 percent over last year,” he added.
Whelan said each family received an average of five boxes of food. The food boxes included a variety of food including beef stew, soups, spaghetti, beef ravioli, chili, rice, beans, apples and oranges. They also receive some non-food items such as laundry detergent and dish soap
“We try to give them a healthy selection of a variety of items,” said Whelan. “There are about 25 items on the family list.”
He said food boxes are prepared for small, medium and large families along with a smaller box for senior citizens with items that require less cooking.
Whelan said the church receives names of who to give the food boxes to from the Summersville Christmas Store and four schools in the immediate area including Summersville, Zela, Mount Nebo and Birch River.
“As the resources have become available, we have expanded our distribution area,” said Whelan.
The project is entirely a volunteer effort from St. John’s with a few volunteers from other local churches and some relatives of church members.
“Every year we get contributions from our parishioners and it just keeps growing,” said Whelan.
Other than small grants from the Catholic priests organization and Food Lion, the project is entirely funded by St. John’s parishioners.

Photo reprinted with permission of The Nicholas Chronicle, Summersville, WV
Members of St. John Parish in Summersville pack Chirstmas food boxes for the less fortunate of the area.