Organization raises $8,000 to help fight hunger locally

MORGANTOWN — The Al Bonneroo gang got  together tonight to gift giant checks to two organizations that benefited from the day long music event at Gene’s Beer Garden in Morgantown. The festivities raised $8,000 that was gifted to two  programs that help feed individuals in the community.

Tom Bloom, chief executive officer, and Roark Sizemore, president of the Board of Pantry Plus More came to hold the giant check Monday. Bloom said the $4,000 dollar donation is the third largest they have ever received.

“We are overwhelmed with Gene’s and the people who support it,”  Bloom said.

Sizemore said there are currently eight pantries  in the area — and Bloom said because of this donation they should be able to open another two locations. Having expected the concert to raise around $500, Bloom said they were blown away by numbers.

The other organization, Food For Preston out of Preston County, also came to collect their donation. Tammy Laney, coordinator, came to accept the $4,000 check.

“It is going to start the school year off right, and we are going to start purchasing food. One hundred percent of it goes to purchasing food for our students,” Laney said.

The program that operates in Preston County is currently in every school in the county with hundreds of kids the pantries serve every week. She expressed her thanks for Bonneroo and the money that will go to help with things like the Pack the Bus Program that was started by Michelle Wolford.

“I think it’s just phenomenal because you really have a community coming together, in honor of Michelle Wolford. She really began Pack the Bus and she was really a supporter of our backpack program in Preston County,” she said.

Of course there is Al Bonner, who Al Bonneroo is named for. The owner of Gene’s, he said in 2009-’10 Gene’s held the charity event and brought it back for 2018.

“Any money that it makes we just give it away. We decided we wanted to do something to help out the schools,” he said.

Bonner said he didn’t think they event would raise $8,000, but there was a lot of buzz around it, which seemed to grow in the days leading up to the show. He said the turnout may have been even bigger, had the temperatures not soared into upper-90s that afternoon.

The neighborhood could see another Bonneroo in 2019, according to organizers.

“I think everybody’s on board to do it again next year. Like I said, if we had 500 people here, we’d have raised ten to fifteen thousand dollars,” said Bonner.

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