December 6, 2022

Clear to partly cloudy. Low 29F. Winds light and variable..
Clear to partly cloudy. Low 29F. Winds light and variable.
Updated: November 23, 2022 @ 7:52 pm
Volunteers at the Marion County Soup Opera prepare lunch for the nonprofit’s many clients.
The Knights of Columbus Council 942 donated nearly 100 children’s coats to the Marion County Board of Education last week.
Volunteers at the 2021 Marion County Christmas Toy Shop load bags of toys into a local family’s car.
Every year, the Tygart Valley United Way collects thousands of winter clothing items through its “Warm Coats, Warm Hearts” cold-weather clothing drive.

Volunteers at the Marion County Soup Opera prepare lunch for the nonprofit’s many clients.
The Knights of Columbus Council 942 donated nearly 100 children’s coats to the Marion County Board of Education last week.
Volunteers at the 2021 Marion County Christmas Toy Shop load bags of toys into a local family’s car.
Every year, the Tygart Valley United Way collects thousands of winter clothing items through its “Warm Coats, Warm Hearts” cold-weather clothing drive.
FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WV News) — The holiday season is finally here, and in an attempt to help struggling families and individuals during the winter months, a number of nonprofits and organizations across the county are doing what they can to make sure everyone stays warm, fed and happy this Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Those looking for an immediate meal can do so at the Marion County Soup Opera in downtown Fairmont, which offers community members in need a free daily meal between 11:15 a.m. and 1 p.m. Those who need clothes and toys for Christmas also can visit the Soup Opera before Dec. 1 to sign up for the nonprofit’s annual Christmas giveaway, which will be held Dec. 19.
Marion County Soup Opera Executive Director Misty Tennant encouraged those who are hungry and cold this winter to stop by during the day and get the help they need.
“We serve a hot meal every day, seven days a week, 365 days a year from 11:15 a.m. until 1 p.m.,” Tennant said. “On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, they can get clothes, showers and help their hygiene.”
Additionally, the Soup Opera is accepting donations of coats and other cold weather clothing items Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
The Soup Opera is not the only organization looking to keep people warm this holiday season. The Knights of Columbus Council 642 collected 96 children’s coats last week, all of which were donated to the Marion County Board of Education.
County officials worked with principals and teachers to find out which kids needed these coats most, and they were handed out last week.
“How can it do anything but warm your heart?” Marion County Board of Education President Donna Costello said. “I think that the Marion County Board of Education is always happy to partner with civic groups to serve the families of Marion County.”
The school system is also working closely with the annual Marion County Christmas Toy Shop, and as of Sunday, has donated over $8,000 to the event so that officials can purchase toys.
Each year, the Christmas Toy Shop aids roughly 1,000 children by giving their parents or guardians a bag full of new toys, which organizer Butch Tennant said is to ensure no child is empty handed on Dec. 25.
“Every child needs a Christmas,” Tennant said. “People can work, but that doesn’t mean they have money to spend on toys. We used to do this on Black Friday, but a lot of those parents work on Black Friday and try to go shopping, too. That’s why we moved to the week after that.”
The Christmas Toy Shop will be held on Dec. 3 this year, and those wanting to donate money to the cause can send a check made out to the Marion County Christmas Toy Shop to 942 Sylvan Ave., Fairmont W.Va. 26554.
Meanwhile, the Tygart Valley United Way is in the middle of its annual Warm Coats, Warm Hearts drive, through which they accept warm winter clothing items such as gently used coats, socks, hats and more in order to give those to less fortunate people in the community.
Tygart Valley United Way Community Impact Director Casey Gilbert said that once collected, the clothes will be divided up among the United Way’s affiliated nonprofits, including the Marion County Soup Opera, Salvation Army and more.
“It’s definitely a need in our community,” Gilbert said. “This year, we actually set up a coat rack outside of our office, because we’re located across from the Union Mission. We get a lot of foot traffic by our building. We had some coats left over from donations last year, so we started putting some coats out on the coat rack and they’re gone by the next day. …
“We want to keep that out there to meet that immediate need, but a lot of people are going without the appropriate winter wear. Winters are pretty harsh in West Virginia, so it’s definitely a need.”
Those in Marion County looking to donate to the Warm Coats, Warm Hearts drive can bring their clothing to a 24-hour drop-off location at the Tygart Valley United Way headquarters, located at 221 Washington St. in Fairmont.
Another way to help those in need this winter is through the Salvation Army. Earlier this month, the nonprofit began rolling out its usual donation kettles to local businesses, as well as several angel trees intended to provide children in the area with Christmas gifts and warm clothes.
The first of the drums and trees were placed in the Fairmont Medical Center at the start of the month. Salvation Army of Fairmont Council Chair Lewis Boyce said that the rest of the kettles and trees have already been stationed throughout the rest of the community, adding that both programs are very important to the county.
“The money collected from the Salvation Army’s kettle program goes straight into the community at the Salvation Army thrift store and social service department,” Boyce said. “We serve over 2,000 people a year through senior service food boxes, grocery assistance, utility assistance and clothing assistance. …
“There are 547 angels right now in Marion County. That’s the most we’ve had in over 10 years. We’re seeing a lot of need this year for children who need Christmas provided for them this year. Anyone who can have the means to provide that assistance this year, this is a very good year to do it.”
Fairmont News Editor John Mark Shaver can be reached at 304-844-8485 or jshaver@theet.com.

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