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‘Awesome’ community provides cheer

‘Awesome’ community provides cheer
‘Awesome’ community provides cheer
Dinnah Conder puts the finishing touches on a holiday gift box Friday morning for an Elizabeth family as Virgil Carpenter, who also helped throughout the day, stands in the background. Photo Ross Schulz (click for larger version)

While Santa was nowhere to be seen, the Christmas spirit was on full display Friday morning at the South Harrison Community Center in Elizabeth.
Elizabeth families needing an extra boost this holiday season received it in a big way last week as community members provided toys and food boxes for more than 70 area families through the South Harrison Community Development Center program.
A community effort of volunteers and donations from Lions clubs, South Central schools, churches, banks, Wilson’s General Store and individuals made up the team that provided the food and toy giveaway.
‘It’s a community effort,’ volunteer Dinnah Conder said. ‘It’s an awesome community here. If I ever need help, I hope I’m in this community.’
Pre-approved families could check in at the main entrance of the community center at any time Friday, then a group of volunteers would add a ham or turkey and fresh fruit to the filled boxes before they were loaded behind the building.
If the family had children with them while picking up the boxes, the kids’ gifts were placed in the trunk to remain hidden. The gifts included clothing as well as toys and the boxes, also contained gift wrapping for the parents.
The food giveaway started in the early 1980s, Mindy Wibbels said, when a teacher at South Central recognized the need for such a program in the community.
‘She started at the elementary (school) and it has grown from there,’ Wibbels said.
In the early years, the giveaway consisted of only a hot dog and chips and has evolved into an amount of food that can feed families for days or weeks.
The volunteers met last Wednesday at the community center to put the boxes together then again Friday to add fresh food, including bread, eggs, butter, fruit and vegetables, before families picked up the goods.
Conder, who runs a food pantry, said residents still in need can call her for help at 969-3837.