PARKERSBURG - Children at the Arthur N. Gustke Child Shelter in Parkersburg have been well taken care of by members of the community this holiday season, administrators said.
Children's home supervisor Denise Hughes said the Christmas meal for the children was donated by a woman who felt compelled to help.
"The meal this year was donated very generously from a lady who wished to remain anonymous," said Hughes.
Photo by Mandi Cardosi
Shelter supervisor Denise Hughes’ office was beginning to fill up with Christmas donations days before the holiday kicked off.
The woman and her husband, who recently passed away, had always done something nice for the community during Christmas, she said.
Each of the 10 children housed in the home has been adopted by a "Christmas angel" from the community to provide them with presents for the holiday season. Many of the items received by the children were personal hygiene and care items, said Hughes.
"The correctional center donated candy canes and cards," she said. "The community has really wrapped their arms around our kids."
Other organizations to care for the children are the Parkersburg and Williamstown woman's clubs, the Williamstown Auxiliary Club and Integrated Community Services of Parkersburg.
Hughes said the staff of the children's home was grateful for those private individuals in the community who have been able to supply the children with necessities as well as toys and gifts.
"The kids are enjoying the holidays," she said.
Hughes said the shelter tries to care for children of all needs, large or small. They have previously cared for children with conditions including diabetes, brain tumors and severe burns.
Every child is placed in the shelter based on needs determined by the state and is given a physical and follow-ups for medical conditions, Hughes said.
"We have had children from all corners of the state," she said. "Those kids find it difficult to visit with family (during the holidays) because they are so far away."
The shelter moved to St. Marys Avenue about eight years ago from a location on Latrobe Street in order to house a few more children, she said.
"These are troubled times," she said. "It's good to see people helping people."
Hughes said although the youngest child in the shelter is 14 years old, the staff still encourages the children and tries to make their holiday experience as magical as possible.