WHEELING – By celebrating those who go the extra mile for the youth of the Ohio Valley, the Wheeling YMCA’s Light of the Valley Luncheon takes another step forward in helping these children.
Breakfast is the Y’s main fundraising event for the year. Event funds help the Y maintain its playground and bolster a scholarship fund for children who cannot afford Y programs. They can participate at a reduced rate or at no cost.
That’s why, said executive director Adam Shinsky, that’s why lunch is so important to organize and why it’s been so disappointing that the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the 2020 lunch.
“Not being able to have it last year really hurt,” he said. “We’ve thought about it long and hard this year with COVID still going on. But we believe we can run it safely.
This year’s lunch will be held Wednesday at noon at the White Palace in Wheeling Park. Lunch will be served buffet style by Wheeling Park staff.
Tables will be properly spaced to allow proper distancing. Masks are optional, but welcome.
Each year, the winner of the Dr. Lee Jones Patron of Youth award is honored at the luncheon. This year’s recipient is Lisa Allen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ziegenfelder Company, a Wheeling-based company that is one of the leading producers of frozen treats in the United States.
Former YMCA employees Allen and Ziegenfelder have a long relationship with the organization. Among other donations, the company sponsors the Y Flag Football Championships and provides DVDs of the game, rewards, pizza and popsicles.
“Just being able to benefit from the program and honoring Lisa and all that she has done for the Y and the community will benefit many more children,” said Shinsky.
The award is in its 14th year and has honored many individuals who have contributed to the mission of the YMCA and the Ohio Valley community as a whole.
“Everyone we’ve honored, all these people have done so much, not just for the YMCA,” said Shinsky. “The main thing is what these people are doing for the youth in our community, and all of these people have gone above and beyond. “
These award winners aren’t looking for the spotlight for their efforts, but Shinsky said it’s important to make sure the spotlight is on them.
“These things they are doing are behind the scenes and nobody knows it,” he said, “but we think they deserve to be honored.”
A native of Steubenville, Rich Donnelly, who spent 10 years coaching the Pittsburgh Pirates as part of that Major League Baseball coaching career, will be the keynote speaker. Tickets are still available. To purchase, call Shinsky at 304-242-8086.