Pictured: Bank of Cheer volunteers pack food to be delivered to needy families just before Christmas.
By Bill Sterling
With the Christmas holidays approaching, thoughts turn to celebrating the holidays and also to helping those less fortunate.
For the past 64 years the Bank of Cheer has helped to make Christmas a little brighter for those less fortunate with its the delivery of food and other necessities for about 200 local needy families.
With donations from the community, organizers of Bank of Cheer purchase food that will be packed and delivered by volunteers, many of whom have helped for a decade or more.
Laura Trala has directed Bank of Cheer for more than 20 years and organizes the purchase and packing of the food and the delivery, which takes place about a week before Christmas. Volunteers with the help of the Accomack County Parks and Recreation Department pack the food prior to the delivery day.
Traditionally, the Christmas boxes include a turkey or ham, canned meats, fruit, vegetables, flour and other staples.
It has become a Christmas tradition for local residents, community organizations, churches and other groups to make a donation to the Bank of Cheer. Donors know that 100 percent of their donations go to help the Bank of Cheer recipients. All labor and transportation expenses are donated. Dublin Farms has provided the boxes used for packing the food for many years now.The Foodbank of the Eastern Shore provides a base for packing the food and delivery.
Recipients are selected by community leaders, who confer with ministers, organizations and employees of Social Services departments to determine the families who most need help.
Monetary donations can be mailed to: Bank of Cheer, c/o Laura Trala, P.O. Box 646, Onley,Va. 23418