Almost 75 years later, Seaford charity is still going strong

By Tony E. Windsor

For almost three quarters of a century, the Seaford-Blades Associated Charities has been at the forefront of spreading cheer throughout the year, but most notably during the Christmas season. Now in its 74th year, SBAC volunteers were once again packing boxes of canned goods, bread, scrapple, chicken and toys for delivery to area families.

At the helm of the operation is Virginia "Ginny" Short, who has been dedicated to the project for the past 54 years. She started as a young woman working side-by-side with her mother, one of the earliest of the charity's volunteers. As has been the case so many times before, Short could be found on Monday morning, Dec. 22, notes in hand, coordinating the efforts of the volunteers who came to deliver the food and toys.

Many of the volunteers gathered at the pickup site were members of the Seaford Lions Club. The Lions Club was instrumental in organizing the Seaford-Blades Associated Charities effort in 1939. The first official Christmas delivery effort took place one year later in 1940 when the organization had collected $100. Short said the money was used largely to purchase shoes that were then delivered to families.

She said in preparation for the charity deliveries, SBAC works closely with Love, Inc., of Delaware, an independent non-profit organization, owned and supported by local churches. The organization gets information from the Seaford School District, social service centers and other sources and refers them to SBAC to be a part of the annual holiday effort.

Other organizations that helped with the project include Mountaire Farms, the Woodbridge Chapter of the Future Farmers of America (FFA), the City of Seaford, the Seaford Volunteer Fire Department, WBOC TV-16 "Bless Our Children Project," and a host of individuals and businesses. One of the organization's most loyal supporters is the medical office of Seaford Chiropractor Dr. Michael Triglia.

For the past 26 years, Triglia's staff has collected new toys that are given to SBAC for the annual holiday delivery.

While being committed to the mission of SBAC and spending countless hours making sure everything comes together for the Christmas deliveries, Short is shy about any publicity. "This is not about me," she said. "I am involved, but it is the contributors and volunteers who give of their time who deserve the credit for making this project so successful each year."

Short is driven in her desire to see that all those involved in the annual effort are recognized. Each year she delivers a handwritten letter to the Seaford Star naming each and every supporter of the project. "My letter gets so long sometimes that I have had to cut it back so it would fit in the paper," she said laughing.

Lions Club volunteers who turn out to make sure deliveries are made to the families are visibly excited about being a part of the charity project.

Jim Blackwell of the Lion's Club has been a part of the project for a number of years and feels it is a great way to help people during a special time of the year and have fun doing it.

"It's a wonderful feeling to have friends come together and make these deliveries," he said. "This project makes sure that families who are in need at Christmas time get some help."

Blackwell said making the deliveries on a day when kids are in school also helps give parents a chance to wrap the toys and get them under the Christmas tree without knowing where they came from.

For more information about Seaford-Blades Associated Charities and its Christmas project, call Love, Inc., at 629-7050.

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