A generous response to tragedy one hundred year ago continues to be felt today. A century ago, St Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Wheeling, WV received a bequest from the Scott family grieving over the loss of their daughter with one stipulation; it must be used for children at Christmas.
This year, the church sought to use that money creatively and determined to pay off layaway bills for children’s presents at a local WalMart for nearby residents. The parish used $5000 for the layaways gift.
According to St Matthew’s Rector, The Rev. Mark Seitz, the church worked with the store manager to identify qualifying recipients and that gift was meant to be anonymous.
“The criteria for this was that the people had to be residents of Ohio County, either Wheeling or Triadelphia, and they needed to have children. They needed to be buying toys. So the layaways that we were paying off were toys for children for Christmas. And the manager went through and found people in those two communities and as far as I know, they are not going to be told who did this, just that it was done for them.”
However, due to the story being shared on social media, word got out inadvertently. Aside from the layaway payoffs, the church is engaged in several other ministries offering food and gifts through their food pantry. The church also supports the Children’s Home of Wheeling and the Crittenton Home.