Barboursville Toyota dealership fulfills area youngsters’ holiday gift wishes
BARBOURSVILLE - Allison Hatfield says there are some students at Spring Valley High School who don’t get anything for Christmas.
“One of our students that still believes in Santa Claus thought the reason he wasn’t getting anything for Christmas was because he was bad,” said Hatfield, a biology teacher at the school. “He is the sweetest kid in the world, and I couldn’t let him not get anything for Christmas.
“Another student asked for a hairbrush because the one she had was taped together and she couldn’t brush her hair with it.”
Hatfield began investigating and asking other teachers to submit a list of kids they see who don’t have a decent pair of shoes or wear the same clothing every day at school.
“Once we had names, we found out what they actually needed and wanted,” she explained. “We were able to get them the shoes, clothing, food or other items they needed and also some gifts for Christmas.”
Hatfield said the school is able to help underprivileged students thanks to donations like the one Advantage Toyota in Barboursville made Wednesday.
“This helps to show those students that the school and the community loves them and cares about them,” she said.
David and Shawn Ball, owners of Advantage Toyota, continued the dealership’s long tradition of community support by presenting checks to representatives from United Way of the River Cities and 13 local high schools in the five counties where they sell the most vehicles, which are Cabell, Wayne, Putnam, Lincoln and Mason.
“These gifts underscore Advantage Toyota’s commitment to our area’s youth,” David Ball said. “By donating directly to the schools and the United Way, we hope to provide students with basic needs and bolster programs that contribute to their long-term success.”
The dealership donated $10,000 to the United Way of the River Cities with a $10,000 matching grant from Toyota Corporate and $24,000 in donations to the 13 local schools.
Schools receiving donations were Cabell Midland, Huntington and St. Joseph Central Catholic high schools in Cabell County; Spring Valley, Tolsia and Wayne high schools in Wayne County; Lincoln County High School in Lincoln County; Buffalo, Hurricane and Winfield high schools in Putnam County; and Hannan, Point Pleasant and Wahama high schools in Mason County.
School officials at those schools said the donations will be used for food and clothing pantries at the schools, as well as helping needy students who want to participate in athletics, arts, attendance and academic programs.
Carol Bailey, executive director of United Way of the River Cities, said the funds will be used for The Big Cover Up program.
“United Way of the River Cities engages high school students to join the fight for the basic needs of other youth,” she said. “For The Big Cover Up, high schoolers develop a program and raise funds to match part of a United Way grant. They use that money to buy warm clothing for vulnerable students at a neighboring elementary or middle school of their choosing.”
Bailey said 11 schools participated in the program this year.
“There are over 300 high school students involved in the different service projects looking to serve over 700 elementary, middle and high school students in their own areas,” she said. “The program is about getting hats, coats, scarves, boots, gloves and other clothing to students that need them.”
Bailey encouraged other schools to apply for the program next year. Applications for The Big Cover Up are available in late September. For more information about the program, call 304-315-2256.
Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.