Volunteers, donations needed for Christmas project

PARKERSBURG – The Arc of the Mid-Ohio Valley is seeking donations and volunteers to help with its annual Secret Christmas project.

The project provides Christmas gifts, cookies, housekeeping and toiletry items to Wood County adults and teens 13 years and older with intellectual, cognitive, or related developmental disabilities.

Approximately 250 individuals received gifts and food through the Secret Christmas project last year and the nonprofit agency’s officials said they anticipate serving about the same number this year.

“This program benefits teens and adults with developmental disabilities who are in financial need. These are folks who have little or no financial support, and this may be the only Christmas they receive. They don’t ask for big things on their wish lists, it may just be some new clothes. This really brightens their day and we appreciate all the folks in the community who donate to the program,” said Doug Hess, outreach and communications coordinator.

Many of those served through the program are over the age for assistance from other community programs and have a demonstrated financial need with little or no family support to cover their clothing, grooming, and other needs. For many, this may be the only Christmas gifts they receive.

It goes without saying that the project would not be able to continue without the yearly generosity from the community,” said Christina Smith, executive director for The Arc of the Mid-Ohio Valley. “We are asking everyone please consider being a part of this effort.”

Contributions can be made by sponsoring a person with a donation of $40, with The Arc purchasing and wrapping the gifts. Groups or individuals can request a wish list, purchase the gifts and bring them to The Arc of the Mid-Ohio Valley’s offices; clubs, church groups, businesses can be a Secret Christmas sponsor.

Volunteers are also needed to bake cookies to be included in the goodies packages given with the gifts and to help shop and wrap the gifts on Dec. 3 starting at 4:30 p.m.

“Christmas is a time to count our blessings. We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to share with those in our community who need our help and we want to thank you for considering this Secret Christmas as a way to brighten your holiday ,” Smith said.

Since 1955, The Arc of the Mid-Ohio Valley has served the area as an advocacy organization for children and adults with intellectual, cognitive and related developmental disabilities. A local chapter of The Arc of the United States and The Arc of West Virginia, The Arc of the Mid-Ohio Valley is committed to helping individuals with disabilities achieve their greatest potential.

For more information on the Secret Christmas Project, to donate or volunteer contact The Arc of the Mid-Ohio Valley, 912 Market St., Parkersburg, 304-422-3151.