Mingo Junction's village coffers may be a little poor these days, but the village is rich in its volunteerism.
Throughout the Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter holidays, needy residents can rely upon the Mingo Junction Social Services to help them out with food baskets and other items, including presents for children. The holiday food baskets wouldn't be possible if not for a group of dedicated volunteers and the tireless efforts of Sophie Schoolcraft, Mingo Junction Social Services director.
Schoolcraft has a special touch in getting her team of volunteers activated weeks before the holidays. Those volunteers include church leaders in the village and staff at Indian Creek schools. Religious leaders and school staff then get other volunteers to collect food and other items for the food baskets.
Schoolcraft also relies upon numerous individuals, some now living outside the area, who mail monetary donations.
The Wal-Mart Distribution Center has been a valuable member of the team in making major donations of food products.
Another group of volunteers, the Mingo Revitalization Committee, had a very busy year in 2013 and is already planning projects for this year.
The revitalization committee painted at Aracoma Park, took an empty lot near the Municipal Building and turned it into a green space, complete with a mural, and did other plantings and cleanups around the village. It spruced up the downtown area before the annual Mingo Junction Community Days.
Mingo Junction has fallen on rough times during the past several years. The steel mill shut down, leaving many village workers without a job and the village struggling with decreased income tax revenue. The loss of money resulted in a layoffs of village workers and a decrease in services.
It would have been easy for the village residents to give up, but they have banded together into a group that places an emphasis on volunteering.
These volunteers work together to try to make the village look better and provide help to those in need.
Every community has a group of residents who donate hours to community projects.
But Mingo Junction is blessed to have the Mingo Junction Social Services and the Mingo Revitalization Committee.
Their volunteer efforts should be an inspiration to all other communities.