Local Eastern Star chapter donates to River Valley CARES center

April 6, 2019

HUNTINGTON — A newly licensed care and recovery center for infants and families was the recipient of a donation that included two MamaRoo baby seats, among other items needed to fill the food pantry and care closet at River Valley CARES: Center for Addiction Research, Education and Support.

Three representatives from the Huntington chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star were on site to tour the facility — a center designed to provide high-quality and comprehensive services to children exposed to substance use disorder and their families — and to present the donation to River Valley CARES Director Janie Fuller-Phelps on Friday morning.

Theresa Evans, a member of the local order chapter, said she learned of the facility after a food drive was held at Ceredo-Kenova Elementary School where her granddaughter is enrolled.

“She had a letter in her backpack about it one day, and I called the number and spoke with Janie. I felt like that was what I needed to do, that it was my project,” Evans said.

She then took that information to a meeting of the local Eastern Star chapter and proposed that they support the facility through donations. After consideration, the Eastern Star members chose to donate two MamaRoos, which are baby swings that offer a variety of motion for therapeutic handling of children, as well as several other baby-related supplies.

Fuller-Phelps said she was grateful for the donation - especially given the cost of even one MamaRoo swing, which can be as much as $500 - and said donations like that of the Eastern Star’s help keep programs like River Valley CARES functioning.

“There are so many things I see when I look at the big picture, looking at what this program could mean to this community and to the city of Huntington. I know it takes time, but once it gets up and running, it’s going to be awesome,” Fuller-Phelps said.

Community has been a major factor and the source of her passion for the River Valley CARES center since she took her current position nearly six months ago. The first food drive to fill the pantry was hosted at CKES, her alma mater, with the latest contribution coming from a local organization that had ties to the same school.

The project has come full circle in just a short time, but Fuller-Phelps said that as long as the word continues to spread throughout the area, donations will find their way to the food pantry and care closet - which is filled with common products like baby wipes and clothing for infants.

“We just can’t do it without networking. At this point, word of mouth is huge for us,” Fuller-Phelps said. “Donations, both small and large, are appreciated, and there are still so many things we want to do, but the community concept is important to me.”

Marta Hooker, Eastern Star worthy matron, said the Huntington Chapter plans to continue to donate items to River Valley CARES as needed in the future to help it get off the ground or if they should find themselves in urgent need of any particular item.

River Valley CARES is a nonprofit organization of River Valley Child Development Services and part of Healthy Connections. For more information, contact the River Valley CARES office at 304-429-3882 or by email at jphelps@rvcds.org.