By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — KNOWLESVILLE — Santa’s elves have nothing on the Medina Area Association of Churches.
Volunteers from the church group have been busy this week collecting and organizing the toys, meals and clothing items that will provide joy and warmth for more than 100 local families and individuals who requested assistance for the holiday season.
The Knowlesville United Methodist Church’s Fellowship Hall has received numerous presents, books, food items and toys in recent weeks, with the Medina Fire Department delivering two-dozen of the MAAC’s red barrels Tuesday.
Still more has come from home pick-ups of hand-knitted scarves and socks, and toy donations too big to bring to the barrels at local churches and businesses.
It will all be delivered Saturday, when local firefighters mount their sleighs to deliver much-needed assistance. MAAC Christmas Boxes chair Sylvia Riviere said the long hours spent preparing the donations for Saturday’s day-long deliveries are worth the effort.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s really fun to help,” Riviere said. “It’s why we’re here.”
Bill Arnett, who jumped into the MFD’s ambulance to unload barrels, said the dozen-or-so volunteers who spent their morning at the fellowship hall are doing God’s work when they help their neighbors. He still remembers receiving a tin target for an air rifle that the firefighters had painted and fixed up one Christmas.
“People took care of us,” said Arnett, who has volunteered in MAAC’s programs for more than two decades. “It’s such a good cause, very rewarding ... nobody gets left behind.”
Riviere said each child will receive books and age- and gender-appropriate toys when the firefighters deliver the boxes packed this week.
“Everyone from infants to 18 year-olds,” said Riviere, who noted that most of the donated toys are for the younger set. “It’s harder to get enough for the teenagers, everybody wants to shop for the little kids.”
In addition, each household will receive a full meal of ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, corn and cookies thanks to monetary donations and food drives.
Donations for the MAAC’s holiday assistance efforts can be made to the MAAC Christmas Box Program, PO Box 253, Medina, NY 14103.