By Bill Sterling
With delivery of Bank of Cheer boxes loaded with food set to take place this week, organizers of the project are hoping for a late flurry of donations to help with the increased costs of purchasing the items needed to make Christmas a bit brighter for local families.
The Bank of Cheer is in its 64th year of operation and depends on donations from the public as volunteers come together to pack and then deliver boxes of food, which include canned foods, flour and other staples. The recipients also typically get a ham or turkey.
Laura Trala has coordinated the Bank of Cheer for more than 20 years now, but it takes an a lot of help from the community to pull off, including a big assist from the Accomack County Parks and Recreation Department, the Pungoteague Ruritan Club and other groups and volunteers.
“I’m proud to live on the Eastern Shore, especially at a time such as this, when countless individuals come together to give of their time and resources to help those less fortunate,” said Trala. “I know the Shore will come through to help us reach our goal of providing a Merry Christmas for those in need,” she said.
It has become a Christmas tradition for local residents, community organizations, churches and other groups to make a donation to Bank of Cheer. Donors know that 100 percent of their donations go to help the Bank of Cheer recipients. All labor, transportation expenses and the boxes provided by Dublin Farms for many years now are donated. 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. Please do not call Social Services or the local media as they have no input for the selection of the recipients.
Donations are accepted by mail. Send to Bank of Cheer, c/o Laura Trala P.O. Box 646, Onley, Va. 23418.