Face painting

A youngster has her face painted during the 2018 Hams for Fams event at Starting Points. The 2019 event is slated for Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Smithers Gateway Center, the former Valley Elementary School. The first 50 families to register will receive a free dinner ham. Youngsters also will have an opportunity to visit with Santa Claus, decorate cookies and make crafts. There will be parent workshops, a hot chocolate bar and each family will be invited to pose for a free 8x10 family photo.

SMITHERS — It’s operating in a new location, but Fayette County Starting Points still strives to be an organization which helps meets the needs of the surrounding community.

For years, the family resource center was based in the Falls View Community Center, which was housed in the former Falls View School on Rte. 60.

As of this fall, Fayette County Starting Points has relocated to the Smithers Gateway Center, which was also a Rte. 60 school — Valley Elementary — in its former life.

One of the Starting Points center’s successful outreach programs in recent years has been Hams for Fams, and the seventh annual installment of that program is planned for Saturday, Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The first 50 families who register will receive a free dinner ham, according to FCSP director Kelly Gladwell.

In addition to families receiving a ham, there is “an array” of activities in which children can participate that day, Gladwell said. That includes crafts, face painting, cookie decorating and others. Each child 10-and-under that is registered will receive a gift from Santa Claus. In past meetings with parents and the community, Gladwell said the consensus was “let’s do something for the kids, too.”

There will also be a hot chocolate bar and parent workshops, and each family will be able to pose for a free 8x10 family photo.

“We’re just focusing on the families, on the community,” said Gladwell.

She recalls the Gauneka Ruritan Club, which was housed in Falls View, beginning a program to help feed the local community years ago, and that eventually turned into Hams for Fams. “It gets better and better every year,” Gladwell said.

The program is funded by Partners in Prevention grants, as well as through local donations, Gladwell said.

Organizers ask that families attend the Dec. 7 event at the following times according to the first letter of their last name:

A-G: 10 a.m.

H-M: 11 a.m.

N-Z: 12 p.m.

Doors will close at 1 p.m.

To register, mail information detailing whether or not you have children or are just registering for a free ham, list your children's names, sex and age, and supply your name and phone number. That information can be mailed to Fayette County Starting Points, P.O. Box 793, Smithers, WV 25186.

Registrations will be accepted until Nov. 28.

Anyone with questions or willing to make a donation can call 304-442-0043.

Email: skeenan@register-herald.com or follow on Twitter @gb_scribe

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