PARKERSBURG - The Parkersburg Police Department and Zides Sports Shop in Marietta delivered a truckload of items to the City Park police substation Monday so the area's foster children can enjoy Christmas.
Zides donated boxes of shoes, sports equipment and athletic wear to assist the police department and Try-Again Homes in their Christmas gift drive.
"We want everybody to have as nice a Christmas as possible," said company president Rod Zide.
Photo by Jody Murphy
Melinda Meredith, left, and Stacy Easter, with Try-Again Homes in Parkersburg, display some of the donated items that will be used for Christmas gifts for area foster children this year.
Police spokesman Sgt. Greg Collins said he was contacted by Zide shortly after the campaign drive started.
"There was a determination in his voice that sounded undeniable," he said. "It was very clear he was going to do everything he could to get all those kids a new pair of shoes."
Stacy Easter, with Try-Again Homes in Parkersburg, said the agency has 53 foster children to be served in a nine-county area. Zides donated more than 46 pairs of shoes for the foster children.
Finding shoes for each child was a big challenge, said Zide, who was proud of his staff's efforts in making it happen.
"I know it was a struggle, especially in regards to infant shoes, but the Zides group pulled it off," Easter said. "Not only did they get the shoes, they got numerous other quality gifts for these kids, gifts that any child in the world would love to have."
Mike Roberts, retail manager for Zides, said the store received help from its manufacturers, Under Armour, Easton, Adidas, Russell Athletic and Holloway Sports.
In addition to the donations from Zides, police also have received a number of donations from area residents.The park substation was crammed full of toys, bikes, clothes and hand-crafted hats.
The merchandise was loaded by representatives of Try-Again Homes, which will distribute it to the foster homes in the area, said Melinda Meredith, program director.
Collins said the department will continue to support Try-Again Homes.
"I hope that this effort shows the human side of our police officers, many of whom are parents, too. Every officer in this department truly cares about the children in this community."
Donations will be accepted at the City Park substation Monday-Friday until Dec. 21. Volunteers and officers will be hand to assist with collection and coordination.
Collins is hoping Zides' donation will provide a strong drive to the finish.
"It's a huge help to provide kids with a nice Christmas," he said.