We put a lot of updates on social media about what’s going on in our community and things United Way is doing to help. Not too long ago, we started a series of Myth Mondays in which we shared more facts about United Way and busted some myths people may have about the organization.
One of them was “Myth: United Way MPC only serves Monongalia County.” Well, Preston County is part of our United Way name for a reason. We have great connections with our funded partners in Preston County, including Food for Preston, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, Preston County Workshop, and more.
One of the largest endeavors we’ve been involved with recently has been bringing the Mountaineer Food Bank’s Mobile Food Pantry to Preston County with the help of Food for Preston.
Our Community Impact Director Janette Lewis and Food for Preston Coordinator Tammy Laney have worked together and been instrumental in bringing the food truck to the Craig Civic Center in Kingwood once a month for four months straight now.
It’s an amazing sight to behold. The tractor trailer pulls into the Craig Civic Center lot, and volunteers from the United Way, Food for Preston and the Preston County National Guard at Camp Dawson help to unload food and pack items into smaller boxes that are then distributed to those who join the drive-through program.
Families in need fill out a simple form right from the comfort of their cars, and then they drive up to receive their goods, with volunteers loading boxes directly into their trunks and back seats. People have received chicken, turkey, catfish, tomato soup, apples, oranges, eggs, butter, cheese, cereal, bread, milk, and much more, depending on what items the food truck brings each month.
The program is a growing success, and it’s been feeding more and more people each month. Just take a look at the stats:
- In March, 454 families and 1,123 individuals were served.
- In April, 658 families and 1,265 individuals were served.
- In May, 680 families and 1,414 individuals were served.
- In June, 710 families and 1,479 individuals were served.
But that’s not the only thing going on in this neck of the woods. Preston County Workshop in Reedsville has been working overtime in its partnership with Appalachian Sustainable Development’s Appalachian Harvest Food Hub, located in Duffield, Va., to locate and transport donated produce.
Appalachian Harvest is available through the Central Appalachian Food Corridor project. It helps rural producers connect with local and regional markets through a network of farmers, food entrepreneurs, and wholesale and retail outlets. That project works in Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee.
We can’t thank John Hyre, CEO and executive director of Preston County Workshop, and the rest of the workshop’s staff enough for helping to get this extra food for people in need, especially during the pandemic.
Most recently, staffers from the United Way, as well as Mountaineer Contractors and Preston Contractors, visited Preston County Workshop to sort and box donated produce, including cabbage, kale, squash, zucchini, broccoli, cucumbers and romaine lettuce. Once the boxes were complete, they were given to area food pantries in both Preston and Mon counties for distribution to families in need.
With the help of these amazing partnerships, we know we’ll make it through this pandemic and continue to serve the residents of Monongalia and Preston counties.
Amanda Posey is the director of marketing and communications for the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties. She can be reached at email@example.com.