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Mobile Food Pantry to host drive-thru food giveaway

MORGANTOWN — Mountaineer Food Bank’s Mobile Food Pantry will hold a food giveaway in Monongalia County this weekend.

The food giveaway is set for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at the 4-H pavilion by the Ruby McQuain Community Center, 111 Mylan Park Lane.

The giveaway will run as long as supplies last, and only one food box can be received per vehicle.

Mountaineer Food Bank Communications Coordinator Gabriela Bonazzo said the mobile food pantry has been a feature of Mountaineer Food Bank’s operations for quite some time.

“We’ve really stepped up our mobile food pantries within the last couple years, and especially now with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bonazzo said.

Bonazzo said the purpose of the mobile food pantry is to provide food where it is limited, and it allows Mountaineer Food Bank to get food to clients as quickly as possible.

The mobile pantry provides fresh fruits and vegetables and baked goods, and can supply food to anywhere between 100 and 1,000 households at a time, according to Bonazzo.

Bonazzo said because of the COVID-19 pandemic, food distributed through the mobile food pantry is prepackaged into boxes and distributed in a drive-thru style, whereas food boxes used to be distributed in a farmer’s market style.

“We do prepackaged food boxes and we have vehicles that drive through, and the volunteers will place the food box in the vehicles, just to limit that face-to-face interaction,” Bonazzo said.

Bonazzo said the limit of one food box per vehicle is another recent update to the program.

“That’s a recent change responding to an increase in demand for assistance since the start of the pandemic. We had to do the one food box rule just so we can better serve the community,” Bonazzo said.

Bonazzo said since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the turnout at these giveaways has increased.

“We’ve seen quite a few more people than we’re used to at our mobile food pantries,” Bonazzo said.

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