Groups work to spread holiday cheer

ELKINS — Two area organizations are partnering together for the second straight year to bring Christmas cheer to local youth.

In an effort to make Christmas a little brighter for youngsters, the Randolph County Family Resource Network, with the support of the Snowshoe Foundation, are accepting nominations of youth who would benefit from gifts and holiday joy.

“As you know, we live in a time when many struggle to make ends meet. Christmas puts a little extra strain on families,” Rebecca Vance, Randolph County Family Resource Network executive director, explained. “Through this partnership with the Snowshoe Foundation we are able to help elevate some of the holiday stressors for some families within our county.”

This is the second year the FRN and Snowshoe Foundation has teamed up to provide toys to children.

“Snowshoe Foundation has collected donations for new toys, they will shop for the toys and then deliver them here to us. The FRN then sorts them by age group and coordinates the distribution to families,” Vance said. “This is the second you we have been blessed by this partnership.”

Vance said the toy drive partnership originated after the Snowshoe Foundation created the initiative in memory of an employee.

“Snowshoe had an employee pass away and in their memory last year they decided to collect money and do a toy drive for Christmas,” Vance said. “They are working with each FRN, I do believe Randolph, Pocahontas and Webster counties.”

Voras Haynes, Snowshoe Foundation vice president, said he believes Dave Dekema, who this initiative is in honor of, would be pleased with the amount of children that are being helped.

“The Snowshoe Foundation is again providing Christmas gifts to local children in conjunction with the Family Resource Network. Snowshoe began its Christmas gift program and memorial Christmas tree fundraiser last year in memory of Snowshoe employee Dave Dekema. The tree lighting took place Friday evening in The Snowshoe Village and will be on display until after the holidays,” Haynes said.

“The Dekema family got the ball rolling with an initial contribution last year and has continued to honor Dave this year. Dave was a great friend and Snowshoe employee whose presence is missed at the resort,” he continued. “We know that he would be pleased that we are helping children in his honor. Several individuals and local businesses participated in the now annual tree memorial that helped add to the funds available.”

Vance said having the support of the Snowshoe Foundation is vital as it allows them to assist more families during the holiday season.

“It means the world to us and to all that we are able to help because of their generosity and willingness to partner with us. This is something the FRN would not be able to do alone and because of them we are able to work with area agencies to find families who truly need assistance,” she said. “It is an amazing experience to watch families come and shop for gifts for their children, then to know that child will not go without a present under the tree is a priceless.”

Applications are currently being accepted by the FRN for children 13-years-old and under.

“We are currently taking applications for children under the age of 13. Applications will be reviewed and children will be selected. Spaces are limited due to the number of toys. If anyone would like to nominate a family they may contact us,” Vance said. “Anyone who would care to donate can contact the Snowshoe Foundation or can contact me at the FRN office at 304-636-4454, via Facebook message or by email”

Guardians must be available to pick up items on Dec. 20 in Elkins, no more than four children per agency can be nominated and they must be Randolph County residents.

Haynes said anyone interested in contributing is urged to visit