PDT Staff Writer
Barbara McKenzie, Director of the Scioto County Catholic Social Services was busy with a lot of volunteers handing out gifts to needy families Friday morning. She knows firsthand why their Christmas Giving Tree program is so necessary.
“We see a lot of tears,” McKenzie said. “We see a lot of thanks from these people, because their children would not receive gifts. Otherwise they wouldn’t know what Christmas was. This is just a way to let the children know the joy of Christmas and the true meaning - someone caring enough to do something for them.”
McKenzie said the following churches, companies and organizations participate in the Christmas Giving Tree program: St. Mary’s Church; Holy Redeemer Church; St. Peter’s Church; St. Monica’s Church; First Presbyterian Church; Second Presbyterian Church; St. John’s Lutheran Church; Cornerstone United Methodist Church; the Portsmouth Public Library; the Glockner Family of Dealerships; Ohio Automotive Center; Notre Dame; Southern Ohio Medical Center and Scioto County Common Pleas Court. She said the food baskets were provided by Seton Parish in Pickerington, Ohio, local Catholic churches and USEC, Inc.
“We have done this for about 30-some years, and this year we are serving over 1,400 children,” McKenzie said. “We have a sign-up the last of October. And parents come in and sign up their children, 16 years of age and under. And then the names go out to different churches; to some schools; to some different organizations, that so graciously help us.”
Ann McCarthy, Annie McCarthy, Barb Clayton, Jerry Tovine and a host of other volunteers were kept busy carrying huge bags of gifts, which had been individually selected, into the arms of families who came to the Holy Redeemer Community building.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.