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Christian Service Center plans to be extra careful this holiday season

HUGULEY — COVID-19 has hindered the Christian Service Center in its continuing effort to help people in need during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. According to Director Cheryl Myers, workers are being extra careful this year in distributing food.

“We are buying it by the case this year,” she told The Valley Times-News. “When we bring it into our center, we spray it and wipe it down. We are also limited on the number of people we can have in the building. We are trying to have no more than four people at a time. We have to be careful in taking donated food.”

Myers sees every day that Chambers County and the surrounding area has been hard hit by the coronavirus.

“We are getting requests for help from people who have never asked for it before,” she said. “Some of those who are asking for help this year have been good about volunteering to help us in the past. A lot of people have lost their jobs and some people have been in quarantine because they have had the virus or have been around someone who had it.”

The best way people can help the Christian Service Center right now is through monetary donations. This will help Myers and her volunteers to purchase food in bulk from a single source.

“It’s getting hard for us to get the things we need from grocery stores,” she said. “It really helps to have volunteers who can go out and get it for you. It’s harder to get items from the food banks. A lot more people are asking them for help than have been before.”

There’s also a problem in getting toys for Christmas.

“Sunday schools have always been good to help us with this,” she said. “Because many of them are not meeting as they’ve done before, this has cut down on these donations. Schools and churches are not collecting canned goods the way they have in the past.”

More than 100 local families have asked the Christian Service Center for help this month, and more than 160 families have filled out applications for help during the Christmas season.

“Since we are being more careful with donated food than we have been before, we have been buying more food this year,” Myers said. “All of us in the building are wearing masks, and we are sanitizing every day. We will have the building fogged today.”

Myers said she is grateful for those who are helping with gifts.

“One of our volunteers found a great buy on school uniforms when they were in Florida,” she said. “They were able to buy pants and shirts for one dollar each. That’s something we can really use at Christmas, and we really appreciated that. It’s nice to have people who can go out and hunt the items you need. When people hit the stores for us, it helps us serve more people.”

Myers said she is grateful that no one on her staff has tested positive for the virus so far.

“I really don’t want to take this home to my family,” she said.

Her husband, Hermon, has some health issues and son, James, is recovering from a staph infection that left him paralyzed at one time. James had been making progress in learning to walk again, but when COVID hit in March he fell and broke his hip. Surgery was delayed because of hospitals being filled with COVID patients. He has since had a total hip replacement and is back on the way in learning to walk again.

“James is doing well,” Myers said.