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What have you done to give back?

May 5, 2013
By CRAIG HOWELL , Weirton Daily Times

It's often said the world is divided between people who give and those who take.

Fortunately, around here there are several examples of the givers; those who look for little or no return with their only motivation to help others.

Tom Knopp, of Kenova, W.Va., is one such person. For those who hadn't heard about Tom, he currently is on a mission to walk through portions of all 55 West Virginia counties with a goal to raise awareness, as well as $550,000, to benefit food banks and similar programs in our state.

He was in Brooke County on Thursday and walked in parts of Hancock County Friday.

Knopp decided on this mission after being able to overcome what was supposed to be a terminal case of cancer more than 20 years ago.

Since then, he has gotten involved in a food bank organization in his own area, and wants to bring awareness all over the Mountain State.

Our own Community Bread Basket is one of the organizations set to receive a portion of the funds raised through his efforts.

This is an organization which provides an opportunity for our residents to help others, providing food for those in need, as well as baby items for infants and other services.

Its staff and volunteers work tirelessly throughout the year to raise money and other contributions to help those who otherwise will not be able to put a meal on their table.

But we have many such groups, including the Salvation Army and the United Way who also work to lend some aid. We are fortunate in that way, and even moreso in the fact we have people who are continually willing to show their support of such organizations.

Over the last several years, May also has been the time of year for what has been dubbed the "Freedom Ride." This bicycle ride is organized by supporters of Tri-State Christian Academy and involves a group of individuals riding their bicycles hundreds of miles to raise money to support the school's scholarship fund.

I haven't heard any details, as yet, of this year's ride, but it is something many in our community look forward to each year.

It started with only a couple of people, and slowly has been growing in recent years, with a handful of other participants stepping up to take on the grueling challenge.

Again, these are people who give of themselves, without thought of return, in order to help others.

In Knopp's case, he wants to help feed those who cannot afford to feed themselves or their families.

In the case of the bicycle riders, it is to provide funding to help with the education of those who attend Tri-State Christian Academy.

The Salvation Army provides food, clothing, Christmas toys and other forms of aide to many in our communities. That need is something they have continued to see grow in recent years, to the point some of those who previously helped their programs now are seeking some of that help themselves.

There is something each of us can do to make a difference in our community. We don't necessarily need to have money to contribute material items. We can simply dedicate some time. Maybe get a group together to help maintain a neighborhood greenspace, or help out with one of the programs already offered by these existing organizations.

Ring the bell at Christmas, help collect and distribute food, organize a special event to raise money or awareness for a program or organization which has become special to you.

There's something each of us can do to give back.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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