Reservations for Thanksgiving dinner will be accepted through Wednesday.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
COLUMBIANA -- Work force reductions and plant closings brought on by a slumping economy mean more business for The Way Station.
The agency offers emergency assistance to the needy of Columbiana County as well as job training and basic education opportunities.
The staff has seen an increase in people seeking assistance the past few months, said Carol Bailey, finance director. She said as the staff is preparing for The Way Station's Thanksgiving and Christmas activities, the agency's food pantry is nearly depleted.
Bailey said The Way Station has had as many as six clients on public assistance working in the agency's clothing distribution center -- that's double the usual number -- and is another sign that more area families are struggling financially.
Here are concerns: Bailey said The Way Station hopes civic organizations, churches and schools will donate nonperishable food to both restock the pantry shelves and fill food baskets for Christmas.
She said the staff soon will be asking for donations of frozen turkeys to include in the food baskets. Last year, area United Parcel Service drivers donated turkeys, and delivered them to The Way Station in the familiar brown UPS truck.
New toys are also needed for Christmas giving, she said.
The agency provides food baskets for needy families, and an age-appropriate toy for each child of the household. The Way Station also is a collection point for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.
Bailey said The Way Station also tries to keep toys on hand for emergency situations.
"It seems like there are always house fires before or after Christmas," Bailey said. "We like to have some toys available to replace some that might be lost."
Thanksgiving dinner: The Way Station is preparing for the annual Thanksgiving dinner to be 1 to 3 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. It will be the first Thanksgiving dinner served at The Way Station's new location, 42131 state Route 14 west of the city.
The meal is free and the building is accessible for those using wheelchairs or other assistance devices.
Anyone with financial need or who has no family members to share the holiday meal is welcome, but reservations are required by Wednesday, she said. The staff does not provide transportation to The Way Station, she said.
Bailey said volunteers usually serve about 200 meals on Thanksgiving Day, and most of the people who attend come back year to year.
"We always have an abundance of volunteers," Bailey said. "People are eager to help us."
To make a reservation for the Thanksgiving meal or for more information about The Way Station programs, call (330) 482-5072.