Members of the Canaan Valley Women's Club gathered at the Mountain Top Senior Center in Parsons on Thursday afternoon with supplies and packed 100 blizzard baskets for area senior citizens who may be in need of food when the weather is too severe for volunteers to make a delivery.
The baskets contain microwavable pasta, bottled water, applesauce, snack crackers, juice boxes, cookies and fruit treats.
The project is spearheaded by the Women's Club, and treasurer Joan Armbruster said the need for more baskets is growing every year.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Christian Broschart
Blizzard boxes were prepared by members of the Canaan Valley Women’s Club on Thursday afternoon. The 100 boxes were donated by AARP and filled with non-perishable items which will be used in the event inclement weather prohibits volunteers to reach recipients of meals on wheels or shut ins.
"The first year we made the boxes, we only did 50," Armbruster said. "We quickly ran out of them and had to assemble 50 more to make it through the winter."
Tucker County winters average 160 inches of snow. More recently, those expectations were exceeded for the season. In 2009 to 2010, snowfall totaled more than 250 inches. This makes the job of delivering Meals on Wheels and meals to Tucker County shut-ins even more difficult.
"When a large blizzard or storm is predicted, volunteers from the Mountain Top Senior Center in Thomas deliver blizzard boxes to those receiving Meals on Wheels and area shut-ins to assure those folks have a meal," Armbruster said. "After we assemble the boxes, we leave them at the center so they have access to deliver those before the large storms."
Armbruster said this year donations of food were received from Davis Shop-n-Save, Elkins Big Lots, Elkins Go Mart, Elkins Kmart, Elkins Rite Aid, Elkins Shop-n-Save and Elkins Walmart.
"The boxes used to hold the items were donated by AARP," she said.
Armbruster said the volunteers who deliver the blizzard boxes always receive positive responses.
"One day I met a volunteer who delivers Meals on Wheels and she told me that when she delivers the blizzard boxes, everyone says they love them," Armbruster said. "Making these and knowing that it helps those in need is just a feel good project."
This is the third winter season the women have made the boxes.
"This is the first year we have not had to assemble the boxes in the snow," Armbruster said. "Our first year, when we delivered the second 50 boxes to the senior center, it was snowing so hard we had to shovel our way into the center."
The Canaan Valley Women's Club also helps by providing personal care items for Women's Aid in Crisis in Tucker and Randolph counties, helping with the Blackwater Ministerial food pantry and donating to the local schools and libraries.