The Times West Virginian

January 2, 2013

Gift of Love food drive community effort to provide badly needed help

Times West Virginian

— We’re lucky to live in a community where people are so willing to help others in need.

That’s not just our opinion. It’s a sentiment that is clearly shared by each member of this community, and that generosity is on display year in and year out as individuals contribute to numerous successful campaigns geared at helping their fellow Marion Countians.

We hope their generosity continues this winter as we embark on the fourth year of the Times West Virginian’s Gift of Love food drive.

The need is certainly there. Just a month ago, we reported that local food pantries continue to see the number of people within the area who are in need of their services rise.

Take the Fairmont-Marion County Food Pantry. Its president, Bruce Roberts, said the pantry served 6,060 people in 2011. That number was surpassed in 2012 in late November.

“It seems like there’s a lot of need, even more than last year,” Roberts said at the time. “I think that the times are a little tougher and the prices of food and things have gone up.”

Or visit the Mannington Food Pantry, where director Colleen Morris said the pantry serves well over 1,000 people each month.

“There are a lot of people out of work, a lot of people getting their hours cut back, losing their jobs and having a hard time making ends meet,” Morris said.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can help.

The Gift of Love works like this: People drop off donations of nonperishable food items to the Times West Virginian’s business office at 300 Quincy St. Items will be collected from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and donations will be accepted until Wednesday, Feb. 13. On Feb. 14 — Valentine’s Day — the items that have been collected will be distributed to different organizations throughout the county to serve the less fortunate.

And it’s not just individuals and families that can get involved. You can get your co-workers or church group involved. Encourage officials at the school your children attend to set up a satellite donation location. If you lead a community service or civic organization, make it a special project.

We know the effort will be appreciated. Each year, when representatives from the local food pantries come by to pick up the food being donated to their organizations, they are shocked at the amount of food. They’re also extremely grateful to such a generous community that continues to work together to help put food on the plates of so many local families.

We know you’re up to the challenge again. Every year since the food drive began, the response has been greater than the year before.

As Roberts and Morris pointed out, the need is still growing. This is our chance to help make sure those in need get a little extra help.