Rick Daugherty grew up on Wheeling Island and every year on Christmas morning he returns to spread some holiday cheer.
“I’ve never called for a volunteer. I get here at 8 o’clock in the mornings on Christmas day and by 9:30 there are a dozen volunteers here. We have people from as far away Akron who come down. My two granddaughters, Josie and Abby, have given up their Christmas morning to come and serve for the last 4 years. We are a family that’s truly blessed and to be able to share some of that is just the best thing there is,” Rick Daugherty of Wheeling.
It’s not the typical Christmas morning, there’s no special brunch or lounging by the Christmas tree in pajamas. His family tradition is to give dozens of families a merry morning at St. Luke’s church.
“The feeling, and just seeing all the new people coming and knowing that we’re here to give them something that they really don’t have unless they come here,” Josie Daugherty of Wheeling.
Even though volunteers might not be in their own homes you wouldn’t know it as they sing Christmas carols and pass out meals.
“Wheeling is an amazing community, I mean we’re really blessed to have places like St. Luke’s, places like the soup kitchen, you know were fortunate to be able to serve those who are a little less fortunate than we are,” said Daugherty.
The true meaning of Christmas for them is giving little moments, like a magical meeting with Santa, or a new teddy bear.
“I mean it’s just such a blessing to be able to do it . I can’t imagine what else I would do on Christmas mornings at this point in my life,” said Daugherty.
“Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,” said Josie Daugherty.