HINTON, WV (WOAY) – Four years after the last time the Appalachian Christmas Event stopped in Hinton, volunteers are back at it, serving hundreds today alone.
Starting at 9 a.m., about 60 volunteers from various organizations get to work serving others.
“This is the 21st year that we’ve done that,” said ministry director for Men and Women of Action Jane Roberts. “That’s one of our most fun things to do, just sit around and talk to the people in the local community about whatever they want to talk about. We pray with them if they want prayer but if they don’t, that’s fine.”
Some volunteers are local, like pastor of Lifeline Church of God Mark Bayle, who says Hinton desperately needs the extra help.
“With the pandemic and the job losses and just being in southern West Virginia as a whole with the downturn of coal has just been a tough turn,” said Bayle. “Hinton is resilient and full of great people, but it’s been a little tough for us.”
Throughout the day, over 400 people walked through Lifeline Church to take home food, clothing and any other holiday essentials. In total, the supplies add up to about $500,000.
“They have the Christmas spirit and they share it with us,” said volunteer Thomas Matuszak “I think we get blessed more than they get blessed. We seem to get a lot of blessings ourselves, just by being God’s hands handing out the food today.”
As community members take advantage of a turkey for Thanksgiving, new clothes and a blanket to keep warm, volunteers hope they take something else away from the event, too.
“All this is about Jesus Christ and letting people know that He loves them and they’re not forgotten and that they are important to Him,” said Bayle.
If you’re interested in getting involved with future volunteer events, contact the Lifeline Church of God.