Thanksgiving food giveaway feeds hundreds

WHEELING — The Rev. Darrell Cummings of the Bethlehem Apostolic Temple said the church’s annual Thanksgiving food giveway provided for about 600 people this year, many of whom stood in the rain early Saturday morning.

The regular event, which sports several variations throughout the calendar year, offered Ohio Valley residents in need a host of donated food items and clothes. It was held at the North Wheeling Community Dream Center on Main Street in North Wheeling.

Cummings said it’s a way for community-minded businesses and individuals to contribute resources and ensure those in need know a little holiday cheer.

“(The long line outside) says there are a number of people in need, a number of people hungry,” Cummings said. “There are people who work everyday and still don’t make enough to meet their needs.”

Tammy Bellman of Warwood stood near the back of the line outside. She said she heard some up front had been there since the wee hours of the morning. She said that’s typical of this event.

Bellman said she couldn’t complain about being so far back because patience is reasonable in this situation.

“It’s all free, and there’s usually enough for everybody,” Bellman said. “You know, you get your time to go in there and get some help.”

Ohio County Sheriff Tom Howard was in attendance as a volunteer. He echoed Cummings’ comments on there being a great need in the Ohio Valley, but he said the church opening its doors, along with various business sponsorships, are proof people here do care.

Fifteen minutes before doors opened, Cummings gathered a few dozen volunteers in a circle, offered a short prayer and gave instructions. Having led intiatives such as this since the mid-1990s, it was far from his first pep talk, but it sounded no less invested.

“Some people are going to be hungry, some frustrated, some hurt,” he said. “Let’s treat them with a smile.”