Christmas in the Valley: Season of giving

The Warren Family Mission meets and exceeds its goal for providing kids in need with Christmas gifts.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – So much has happened this holiday season, starting on Thanksgiving through the Christmas. Communities around Youngstown have celebrated in many different ways.

Stores opened earlier on Thanksgiving to give shoppers a head start for Black Friday. JCPenney in the Southern Park Mall opened at 3 p.m. this year.

The holidays were not just about commerce, though. They were also about having fun and celebrating.

Three thousand people attended this year’s downtown Youngstown Holiday parade, and the annual Tuba Christmas was held at Stambaugh Auditorium.

The peace light from Bethlehem made its way to Boardman’s Bethel Lutheran Church, at a time when everyone in the world is seeking solace.

The Valley also likes to give. Covelli Enterprises gave $15,000 to Toys for Tots and for the fourth year, 8-year-old Tyler Gallo donated the proceeds of his cocoa and cookie stand to the organization.

Elliott Heckman, a teenager from Warren, made it his mission to fix up 39 old bikes so children in need would have them for Christmas.

Springfield Police took several kids on a Christmas shopping spree after a Secret Santa donated $1,000.

YSU President Jim Tressel was one of many who signed a Christmas card headed to troops overseas.

When James Sehon, a cancer patient and veteran from Liberty, had his decorations destroyed and stolen, so many caring people stepped up to make his holidays brighter. Canfield Christmas Lights made a donation to ensure that Poland’s John Whitinger, fighting a brain tumor, would also have decorations this year.

American Family Insurance teamed up with Youngstown’s National Guard 838th for a toy drive to benefit children with military parents. WKBN’s viewers showed the Warren Family Mission tremendous support with its toy drive, helping the organization meet and exceed its goal.

The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle drive was also well received, thanks to all of the volunteers and passers-by who dropped in extra change.

The Soto family of Youngstown’s East Side was blown away by the community support they received after all of their Christmas gifts were stolen. Numerous strangers pitched in to give the family a merry Christmas.

“It’s overwhelming, and not for the fact of what people are offering, but for the fact that there’s people out there that are willing to give,” Robert Soto said.

It was a holiday season to remember, filled with compassion that the Valley can be proud of.

Merry Christmas from all of us at WKBN 27 First News.

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