KINGWOOD — Despite the pandemic there are still those who choose to help others, including Lynn Housner, who started the Hunger Project. Since its inception in December, the organization has raised $3,000 for Food for Preston.
The nonprofit is Housner’s way of helping both Food for Preston and local restaurants.
He said the proceeds from his recently published a book, “Weathering Life’s Storms: My Life in a Wheelchair” goes to Food for Preston.
Housner said the feeding program uses the money to buy gift certificates to local restaurants and hands them out to clients.
“Everyone benefits,” he said. “The idea is with the pandemic the restaurants are hurting and people are hurting.”
The number of people using local food pantries is climbing.
Tammy Laney, Food for Preston coordinator, said her group serves more than 2,000 people every month by putting food into the hands of those in need — that’s a 28% increase in the number of people served at local food pantries in 2020.
Laney said the most dramatic increase has been the number of emergency food calls: 740 in 2020, compared to 157 in 2019.
Emergency food calls are food boxes delivered or picked up outside a given pantry’s set distribution date and time or delivery to a homebound or quarantined household.
Housner, a professor and associate dean emeritus of the College of Physical Activity and Sports Science at WVU, said work on his book began when he became ill and had to retire early.
“I got into painting and writing. I started with short stories and people seemed to like them so I made them into a memoir,” he said. “My memoir is comprised of stories about my medical condition and how I tried to contend with a life-altering illness that placed me in a wheelchair for life with pain, paralysis and cognitive abnormalities. There are also stories about people and events that came to mind as I was writing this memoir.
“The intention is to show how memories of past experiences can help bring joy even when we are weathering storms. All of the stories are true and I hope they are interesting and make you smile. And, I hope they will help you reflect on your own stories and storms, so you can smile as you go on.
“If you are going through a similar situation and trying to deal with a serious or life-altering illness or condition, my hope is that you will see, like I did, that your life is not over. I hope you will find some strategies you can use to deal with your condition.”
Laney said Housner asked to have the funds from the sale of his book go as a donation to Food for Preston. She said she is grateful for all those who help keep the county’s food pantries stocked.
“From positive partnerships, local food drives, generous donations and dedicated volunteers, feeding Preston County is only possible when we all work together,” Laney said.
Housner said his 186-page book can be found on Amazon Kindle, where it sells for $4.95. Donations can also be made at his GoFundMe account.
For more information about donating to Food for Preston email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 304-379-3519.