By TED CORLEY

Editor's note: We apologize for not running this story by Ted Corley sooner. It shows just how generous our communities are when it comes to needy individuals and families. 

ST. HELEN - Helping Hands of St. Helen helps the Community every Christmas since 2011 by collecting and donating an average of 8 tons of food items and Christmas gifts for needy families in the St. Helen area. This year’s event took place at the St. Helen Civic Center last month.

The organization is a collaborative effort between the St. Helen Civic Association, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the American Legion and others who, during the 1960’s and 70’s, each held individual Christmas giveaways for needy families. They joined forces to consolidate their efforts in 1979. They are joined by community volunteers & the Richfield Twp. Department of Public Safety (RTDPS) in preparing, boxing & handing out food and gifts to ensure every family that needs the help during the Holiday season can have a nice meal, and gifts for their kids.

Roberta Kary, of Helping Hands of St. Helen, welcomes volunteers cheerfully at 7:30 am!

Roberta Kary of Helping Hands, former treasurer & current president, (since 2016) said “Helping Hands is here to support our Community, especially this time of year, by providing more than just a Christmas dinner.”

She goes on; “Helping Hands couldn’t do this without the support of our 100% volunteer service. This is only for the families of Richfield Township – if you need a hand, we’re always here to help”.

RTDPS Police Chief Frank Anthony was on-site, along with several volunteers from the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), to aid, cheer & ensure the safety of the families, providing traffic control and parking assistance.

Chief Anthony said “Richfield Township Public Safety is honored to be able to help out with such a great Community outreach. Helping Hands of St. Helen does great work and has a lot to be proud of”.

Resident Elf John Sutter works his Christmas Magic

John Sutter, director of the We Care Shop thrift store in St. Helen and our VFW representative, is always an integral part of this operation. John said “Helping Hands is a 501c3, or a completely charitable organization. There is no outside funding of any kind; everything we give out is 100% donated.”

Helping Hands provided food and gifts for 150+ families this Christmas season, including fresh vegetables and a Christmas turkey. There is a list of families who receive these donations. Please see John Sutter at the Wee Care Shop in St. Helen, located at 2149 St. Helen Rd., St. Helen MI 48656, to be added to the annual list.