By Tina Cogar, Catholic Charities West Virginia Outreach Coordinator
During these difficult times and throughout the pandemic, our Catholic Charities West Virginia Webster Springs Outreach Office has been partnering with Mountaineer Food Bank (MFB), St. James Catholic Church, and First Fruit Farms in order to ensure that no one in Webster County suffers from food insecurity.
Modifications have been made as we continue to offer our services in the safest way possible. Since March, we have partnered with MFB to provide drive-up mobile pantries. Three of those distributions were in different rural areas in Webster County. Thanks to our partnership with St. James Catholic Church, we have been able to add fresh milk and produce to the food being given away by the local schools, and we have begun partnering with First Fruit Farms to offer fresh produce to the community.
Barbara Kopanko, a resident of rural Hacker Valley, stated that our distribution at the local elementary school helped numerous families in their area.
“We have a large population of elderly people in Hacker Valley”, Kopanko said. “Most of these people don’t drive and rely on neighbors, like us, to take them the 40-minute drive to Buckhannon for food. During the last mobile pantry, my husband and I were able to pick up for an elderly man who is caretaker for his wife, who cannot be left alone. “
Barbara went on to say that not only did it help the elderly in the area but also even saved them money on the gas it takes to get to the nearest grocery store.
During this time, we have helped distribute over 70,000 pounds of food. The impact we’ve made in Webster County is undeniable. COVID will not stop us from doing the work of Jesus Christ!