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300 crates of produce helps feed students

Preston Workshop makes food run to aid Pantry Plus More, Feed Mon Kids, others

Workers with Preston County Workshop, a funded partner of the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties, traveled to southern West Virginia to load and haul 16 crates of watermelons, 2,000 pounds of blueberries and 284 crates of broccoli.

The produce was given to Pantry Plus More, Feed Mon Kids and Food for Preston to distribute to individual families in need in the community.

Located in Reedsville, Preston County Workshop has worked with Appalachian Sustainable Development’s Appalachian Harvest Food Hub, in Duffield, Va., through the Central Appalachian Food Corridor project.

The idea is to help rural producers connect with local and regional markets through a network of farmers, food entrepreneurs, and wholesale and retail outlets. The corridor project works in Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee to help connect distressed communities with available products.

This program has been especially prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many parts of Appalachia are struggling to meet the needs of those who are food insecure.

Preston County Workshop and Appalachian Harvest are working during this time to find fresh produce available for donation. It’s not an easy task, said John Hyre, CEO and executive director of the Preston County Workshop. It can take hours and even days to organize one donation, figure out transportation and haul the items.

Helpers work on unloading watermelons at Mylan Park on April 28.

Hyre, along with Operations Manager Jeremy Hyre and Preston County Workshop staff Roger Taylor, Toby Bolyard and Dakota Hyre, were able to transport the watermelon, blueberries and broccoli to north-central West Virginia. And staff members from the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties, Pantry Plus More, Feed Mon Kids and Food for Preston helped unpack the produce.

“We are working together as a community during this pandemic to supply food to so many in need,” Hyre said. “It is difficult to get the supplies to fill these needs during this crisis. Many children and families depended on the school breakfast and lunches. So many people have lost their jobs and are experiencing food insecurity in our communities. Our elderly and disabled population are isolating and finding it difficult to get transportation and food in their homes.

“The broccoli that we donated helped us fill this need last week and we are very grateful. It was also fresh and healthy foods we are not always fortunate to be able to provide.”

For more information about Preston County Workshop, visit For more information about Appalachian Sustainable Development, visit