Throughout the three holidays in the fall, winter and spring, needy Mingo Junction residents can count on a dedicated group to help them put a good meal on the table.
Mingo Junction Social Services distributes about 250 food baskets to village residents who are going through tough times every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.
Sophie Schoolcraft, the agency's director, has been doing this labor of love for years. Her only thanks has been the smiling faces she gets in return when a basket of food is handed out.
Schoolcraft gets a lot of help from village residents and village employees and officials. She also gets major support from the Wal-Mart Distribution Center, which donates food items and provides workers to help hand out the baskets. The churches in Mingo Junction also are there to provide help.
Pupils at schools in the village also collect canned goods and sometimes volunteer on distribution days.
It is organized chaos on the days prior to the basket distribution at the holidays as helpers fill the baskets, which are actually large bags with food items. The line outside the Municipal Building is long on distribution day.
Mingo Junction has been hit hard in recent years with the layoffs and eventual shut down of the RG Steel plant. The village's coffers are hurting, but village officials know residents also are feeling the economic hardship, and Schoolcraft knows she can count on her dedicated group of helpers to make the holiday food basket distribution a success.
Mingo Junction Social Services receives checks from all over from people, mainly former residents, who want to help.
Three times a year, Mingo Junction Social Services provides a great service. Schoolcraft, her volunteers, the Wal-Mart Distribution Center, churches and school pupils deserve a lot of credit for helping to make the holidays better during tough times for hundreds of residents.
Schoolcraft said she has been overwhelmed by the support she receives in her endeavor to help others.
Thanks to Mingo Junction Social Services for helping put a smile on so many faces.