NORTH RIVER - Members of the North River United Methodist Church lent a helping hand to the North Country Outreach Center as they assembled plates of cookies that were included in the Christmas baskets distributed by the Outreach.
"There was a significant increase in the number of families requesting baskets this year," said Anita Abrams of the Outreach Center. "Caring people from surrounding communities have been extremely generous in their donations of food, money and cookies this year."
Requests were so abundant this year that the Outreach Center had to request aid from community members. Residents from all surrounding areas baked additional cookies and delivered them to North River United Methodist Church for the occasion.
The cookies were included in the Christmas baskets sponsored by the Johnsburg Food Pantry. They were distributed to 125 qualified families throughout the Johnsburg area on Dec. 22. The baskets, which included a turkey or ham and all the fixings for a Christmas Dinner were assembled by boys scouts, 4-H members, home schoolers and multiple other volunteers.
The pantry serves approximately 175 families (almost 500 individuals) each month. Families have the opportunity to pick up food two times per month at the pantry, which is staffed entirely by volunteers.
The outreach center also spearheaded a recent toy giveaway, which made it possible for approximately 150 children to wake up with toys under their Christmas tree. The toy giveaway was lead by Mary Sullivan and her crew of volunteers.
"We've seen an increase in need locally as the economy has become more and more problematic," said Abrams. "It brought tears to my eyes to see how lovingly our community members share with each other. It makes me feel so proud to be a part of this community."