Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

December 25, 2013

Volunteers display meaning of season at union mission

BLUEFIELD — Hundreds of families received bags of Christmas Eve cheer while the volunteers, many of them children, were reminded that giving is greater than receiving.

One room at the Bluefield Union Mission was filled with bags stuffed with food Tuesday, but the supply was soon distributed by eager volunteers. Lonnie Quesenberry, who chairs the mission’s board of directors, said the gifts of food included a full dinner.

“There is bread, a pie, and a turkey or ham; enough food so they should be able to eat for several days,” Quesenberry said. “We have 300 families signed up. We started at 11 (a.m.) and the floor was full, so we’ve obviously moved a lot. I’ve had 40 to 50 families in here so far today.”

Children and other volunteers moved quickly to make sure the food bags were ready.

“It’s just really heartwarming to see all the people who want to come out and help,” Quesenberry said.

Most kids are thinking about Santa Claus circumnavigating the world and coming down chimneys with loads of toys on Christmas Eve, but the boys and girls helping at the union mission were discovering that there is more to the holiday than getting gifts.

“This is a lesson learned, and people who get everything they want should come down here and see the people who don’t have anything,” said 12-year-old Cameron Williams of Bluefield.

“Christmas isn’t about presents. It’s about blessing others,” 10-year-old Destiny Patterson, of Bluefield, added.

Another Bluefield resident, Imir Dowell, 10, said helping at the union mission was important.

“Because we learned the true meaning of Christmas, and it’s about giving, not receiving,” he said.

“Christmas is about giving back,” 6-year-old Aerianah Bennett, of Bluefield, concluded.

Grant’s Supermarket donated the hams, Food City, L&L Broadcasting, civic clubs, and local churches donated the additional food, Quesenberry said.

A hot Christmas lunch will be served starting at noon today at the Bluefield Union Mission, Quesenberry said. The Virginia Avenue Methodist Church is sponsoring the take-out meal, and approximately 100 people are expected.

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