High unemployment has forced a large number of West Virginians to ask for help in feeding their families. Loss of jobs has also reduced the contributions to the non-profit food banks.
The local food pantries are dependent on the food banks and are operating on near emergency levels in some communities. To meet the normal operating levels, Mountaineer Food Bank needs to raise $10,000 in each of West Virginia's 55 counties.
Tom Knopp of Kenova, W.Va., director of the Kenova Good Samaritan Center, plans to walk 25 miles in each West Virginia county, starting from the county courthouse, to encourage citizens to participate in fund raising events during this walk.
On April 29, 8 a.m., Knopp will begin his walk in Wetzel County, from the front steps of the courthouse, to help local food pantries and the Mountaineer Food Bank.
Local food pantries served by Mountaineer Food Bank are: Helping Hand, Open Door, and Catholic Charities, W.Va., in New Martinsville; St. Paul's United Methodist Church of Paden City; Heart to Heart serving Shortline; and WE CARE of the Hundred area.
Wetzel County donations may be sent to Mary Toth, 828 5th Street, New Martinsville, WV 26155. Please indicate which pantry your donation supports. Knopp's goal for each county is $10,000. One half of donations received during this event will go to local food pantries and one half to Mountaineer Food Bank. All churches throughout Wetzel County are being asked to collect a special mission offering to support this effort. Also organizations, businesses, and individuals are asked to consider making a donation. We appreciate the prayers and generosity of county resides.
"I've seen so many people in our state who can't afford to feed their families. We urgently need your help to prevent the children from going hungry," stated Knopp.
Online Contest Will Award Grant
Mountaineer Food Bank has been chosen to participate in Wal-Mart's "Fighting Hunger Together" initiative this month. Mountaineer Food Bank is one of 300 organizations from across the country that will be competing for a grant, and they are hoping that everyone might be able to help spread the word about the voting campaign and encourage friends to vote. Wetzel County food pantries supported by Mountaineer Food Bank include: Helping Hand, Open Door, and Catholic Charities, W.Va., in New Martinsville; St. Paul's United Methodist Church of Paden City; Heart to Heart serving Shortline; and WE CARE of the Hundred area.
Grant winners will be decided through an online voting campaign at www.Facebook.com/walmart which runs from April 1-30. The way the campaign works is that anyone can go directly to apps.facebook.com/walmartlocal/?applet=hunger&organization=33 to vote for the proposed child hunger program. At the end of the campaign, the programs receiving the most votes will win one of the grants. Voters can visit the food bank's website at www.mountaineerfoodbank.org for information on voting and the food bank.
Funding for child hunger programs is especially critical in our area. In West Virginia, there are an estimated 80,000 children who struggle with hunger. These funds would help Mountaineer Food Bank fund up to 10 Back Pack program sites in West Virginia.
The Back Pack Program was implemented in order to meet the needs of children when food resources are not available.
This program provides children with healthy, easy to consume foods that can be take home on weekends.
Many groups are finding that this program helps younger siblings at home, as well as the child in school. There are currently 24 programs in 12 counties in West Virginia.