MILL CREEK - Tyrand Cooperative Ministries spends the whole year helping residents in the Tygart Valley region of southern Randolph County who are less fortunate. One of their largest projects is the Tyrand Christmas Store, which opened last week.
"Volunteers spend several months preparing to provide toys, clothing and other items for area children at Christmas time," Belinda Toms, director of Tyrand Cooperative Ministries, said. "Children receive new toys, gloves, socks, underwear and hats. A donation of $15 per child allows the volunteers to buy for every child needing help."
As of last week, 110 children received Christmas gifts, representing more than 50 families.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Christian Broschart
The Christmas Store at Tyrand Cooperative Ministries stocks many items to help provide Christmas gifts for children in the area. Volunteers Avis Forinash and Sherry Smith help arrange items at the store in Mill Creek.
"About 90 percent of those shopping with us have no means to pay for gifts," Toms said. "Those who can help pay are asked to pay a small price."
Toms said the store provides gifts to more than 250 children before Christmas, representing more than 100 families.
"We also have personal care items and items for teens," Toms said. "Every child is eligible as long as they are still in school.
"Every child gets a new big item and other items to make up to a certain amount money-wise," Toms said. "Everyone gets underwear, gloves, T-shirts, mittens, gloves and socks. We even have clothes for babies and infants."
During the year, Toms said they collect monetary donations and shop to stock the Christmas Store.
"This year we shopped at Big Lots and they really helped us out," Toms said. "They are so helpful."
Toms said none of the toys are threatening - they do not purchase guns or knives.
"We have toys, games and art sets," Toms said. "We have modeling clay, puzzles, velvet art and pocket book artwork sets."
Those eligible to shop at the Christmas Store receive a letter from the client list and others are referred from different agencies. Toms said the people just need to have proof that they reside in the area, which is defined from where the Beverly 5-Lane ends through to southern Randolph County.
Throughout the year, Tyrand Cooperative Ministries sponsors a back-to-school store which offers notebooks, crayons, book bags, erasers, pencils, pens, glue, scissors, folders. highlighters, tissues and rulers.
Tyrand also offers a food pantry at the center. The program provides food baskets complete with food for a nice Christmas dinner.
"Clients said they enjoy the baskets better than a dinner because they have leftovers for the week," Toms said.
During the summer, Tyrand provides a week-long day camp for children. The day is filled with Bible lessons, crafts, games, a waterslide and singing.
Toms said the organization also sells items on E-bay to earn extra funds to meet their budget. They also provide emergency assistance with help for medications, rent, mortgage and utility assistance. They also stock blankets, sheets, pots, pans and dishes for those whose homes have burned or otherwise need replaced. Appliances and furniture in good and working order are also accepted. Tyrand Cooperative Ministries is also an approved disaster shelter.
Tyrand Cooperative Ministries also provides Thanksgiving meals for those in need, and runs Noah's Ark Thrift Store.
Information about Tyrand Cooperative Ministries is available by calling 304-335-2788 or by going online to tyrandcoop.org. Their E-Bay seller name is tyrand2009.