PARKERSBURG - Throughout the holiday season and beyond people in the community have given quietly to those in need without any recognition for themselves.
Community organizations and others have received anonymous donations of money, supplies or needed items this holiday season and those donations have helped organizations at a time of need or helped people when they needed it most.
This year, the Salvation Army of Parkersburg has received a lot of donations through the annual Kettle Drive, said Lt. Erik Henry, pastor/commanding officer with the Parkersburg Salvation Army.
"We have gotten a lot of checks this year as well as some special gifts," he said. "People have been really generous."
They have received donations that range from $5 to a couple of thousand dollars or more. This past week, one day they received a couple checks for $1,000 as well as others for $500, $400 and $300 or so, Henry said.
In many cases, the people who have donated wanted to remain anonymous and let the gift speak for itself in the assistance it provides and the lives it touches, he said.
"We have been having checks showing up," he said. "These are helping to set an all-time high for the Kettle Drive."
Henry estimates anonymous donations to the Salvation Army in Parkersburg have totaled more than $28,000 this year.
"A lot of people just want to go unnoticed," he said. "They want to help."
The Salvation Army is expecting to reach its $165,000 goal for this year's Kettle Drive. As of Wednesday, it was at $143,073.86 compared to this time last year when it was at $135,389.57. By Saturday, volunteers had collected around another $9,000 bringing their total to around $163,000.
"We are only about $2,000 off from the goal," Henry said on Sunday evening.
Bell ringers will be out today at locations throughout the area for the final day, and officials are certain they will be able to meet their goal.
"I want to give a big 'thank you' to the community for their generous support," Henry said.
Since coming to Parkersburg this past year, Henry said he has noticed a lot of people who will reach into their pockets to help someone in need. They do it to help someone without any kind of recognition for themselves.
"This community has really stepped up," he said. "When you give money to the Red Kettle Campaign, you can expect change in the community."
A layaway angel helped people in the local community for the holiday season by paying off their layaway balances at the Vienna Kmart recently.
A customer came into the store this past week and requested to pay off layaways that contained toy items, a store representative said. The store gathered more than 40 contracts, totaling $8,638.12.
"The customer graciously wrote out a check and said that he was afraid that these kids would not be able to have Christmas and wanted to make a difference," a store representative said.
The generous benefactor wished to remain anonymous hoping others would pay it forward and be inspired to do something for someone else, store officials said.
Maryann Hollis, executive director of the Humane Society of Parkersburg, said the shelter has received a lot of donations throughout the year.
"Some of them have been anonymous," she said.
Donations have included money, pet food and other supplies.
Many people want to do something to help others without the recognition as it is about the good deed itself and nothing else.
"Many people just don't want to bring attention to themselves," Hollis said.
Our Community's Foundation-The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation has received anonymous help from time to time, executive director Judy Sjostedt said.
At times, people want to donate to a particular program because of people connected to it or in memory of someone they might have lost. Donations have been made to the Foundation's permanent fund or to funds that serve the community as a whole in a variety of ways, Sjostedt said.
"Some people make generous donations for the good of the community," she said.
If someone requests to remain anonymous, they will honor that request, Sjostedt said.
In donating anonymously, some people are modest and don't want to bring attention to themselves. For others, their religious convictions may require them to serve others in that way. Others may feel it is no one else's business in what they give or how they give it.
"Some people just don't want any acknowledgment," Sjostedt said. "They like to surprise others."
Joyce Mather, executive director of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley, said it has received monetary donations throughout the year and had people who wanted to sponsor families in need during the holidays with clothing, food and toys.
"The gift is not about them," Mather said of anonymous donors. "It is a gift from the heart."
In making donations to the United Way, people have the option of remaining anonymous.
"We honor all requests for anonymity," Mather said.
They have handled monetary donations as well as donations of books and clothing to people and organizations who needed them.
Many people just like being able to assist someone else at a time when it might be needed the most.
"The most important thing is it is not about them, it is about helping others," Mather said. "People around this area are very generous."