The Times West Virginian

Local News

January 10, 2014

Food ‘donations are a godsend’ for Union Mission

FAIRMONT — We’ve all been at the grocery store, pushing our buggies down this aisle and that, searching for just the right can of soup or fruit for our family.

Most of us walk straight past those large industrial-size cans of fruits, vegetables and the like, hunkering down on the bottom shelf.

But the next time you’re at the store, bend down, pick a couple up, put them in your cart, take them home and give them to the Union Mission’s food pantry.

The mission, under the umbrella of West Virginia Rescue Ministries, serves three meals a day — breakfast, lunch and dinner — every day to anyone who wants one, for free.

It’s a pretty big task, considering the mission does not pursue local, state or federal funding. It operates solely on private donations and contributions.

Like the food it receives from the Times West Virginian's Gift of Love food drive.

More than 150 people a day find a meal and kind word at the Jefferson Street facility.

“Those numbers depend on what part of the month it is,” said mission executive director Pastor George Batten.

“At the front of the month, we have lower numbers. But as the month grows on, those numbers climb.”

The mission receives funding from the Marion County Commission “from time to time,” Batten said.

“They’ve been very generous with us. We went to them one time to ask for help with our general budget. That budget does not including funding from federal, state or local entities.”

About $1,500 a month (or about $34,000 a year) is budgeted for food and related expenses, he said.

“Truthfully, I’d expect that to double if not for the donations,” he said.

“The Gift of Love is extremely important. Donations make the difference. My budget would be more expensive if it were not for the help the community gives.

“Every piece of food that is donated saves that much from our budget.”

The mission is well-known for its annual holiday meals at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.

But the everyday meals must be supplied as well.

That’s where the industrial-sized can of peas you just bought for the food drive comes in.

That number 10 can can feed up to 25 servings.

“Outside of fresh vegetables like lettuce or tomatoes, we don’t spend a lot of money on vegetables because of donations,” Batten said.

“A lot of our budget is tied up in meat or protein products.

“Donations are a godsend,” he said. “They alleviate the pressure on our budget. They help us feed hungry people. So that one can is a double whammy. It eases the budget and helps somebody in the end.”

He knows most shoppers pass the larger cans without a second thought.

“They don’t think about it. You see a can like that and think ‘restaurant.’ And I say, think of the mission.”

He said to his knowledge, the mission is the only facility that opens its doors to the outside for three meals a day.

“This is an essential service to Marion County,” Batten said.

“We serve good, quality meals. Our staff does an exceptional job of making sure anybody who comes in gets something to eat.”

Think your single donation won’t help? He disagrees.

“Add your one donation to someone else’s one, and that’s two. And to somebody else’s, and that’s three.

“That’s how you make a big difference ... one at a time.”

To help the Union Mission and all the other food pantries, the Times West Virginian is collecting food for, here’s what you can do:

• Individuals are encouraged to bring boxes or bags of canned goods or nonperishable food items to our business office at 300 Quincy St. We will be collecting these items Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Thursday, Feb. 13.

• Businesses, schools or offices can set up satellite donation locations to collect items through Thursday, Feb. 13. We’ll even come and pick up all items collected.

• Community-service organizations, schools, school programs, churches or civic groups can take this on as a project. Again, anything you collect, we’ll pick up to be distributed with the other donations.

For more information on the Gift of Love, call the Times West Virginian’s newsroom at 304-367-2540.

Email Debra Minor Wilson at dwilson@timeswv.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Bush’s murder convictions reinstated

    Phillip Reese Bush had his two first-degree murder convictions reinstated on Wednesday.
    The Memorandum Decision was handed down by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. This decision reversed the Ohio County Circuit Court order from February 2013 that granted Bush a new trial.

    April 24, 2014

  • Weber would like to be Marion-Fairmont ‘buffer’

    With his six years of experience on Fairmont City Council, Daniel Weber is now running as a candidate for a seat on the Marion County Commission.
    Weber, a retired theater professor from Fairmont State University, said while he was teaching at the university he wanted to run for House of Delegates but couldn’t because he worked at FSU. It would have been a conflict of interest because delegates choose higher educators pay.

    April 24, 2014

  • Opposition to Worthington’s annexation proposal surfaces

    There was some opposition to the Town of Worthington’s annexation proposal.
    A public hearing was held Wednesday at the Marion County Commission meeting for the annexation of 43.28 acres into Worthington. Commissioners heard opinions on the matter but did not vote on the issue.

    April 24, 2014

  • Mailing on voter registration prompts questions

    Concerned voters started calling in to the Marion County Clerk’s office Wednesday after receiving a mailing from the Americans for Prosperity Foundation on voter registration.

    April 24, 2014

  • Farmington addresses problem properties

    The Town of Farmington is focusing on property maintenance, water and sewer issues.
    During its meeting on Monday night, council agreed to adopt the International Property Maintenance Code. This code, along with the town’s ordinance, will allow Farmington to better address some problem properties.

    April 24, 2014

  • (Main) Jay Rockefeller-EG.jpg ‘Something hard’ for Rockefeller turns out to be devotion to service

    U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., returned to West Virginia Wesleyan College Tuesday to host a public policy forum and reflect upon his time in public service.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • 042314 Chuckie Sanders-EG.jpg Sanders now eligible for parole

    Chuckie Sanders is eligible for parole today.
    Not bitter about the 20 years he’s served, Sanders, 52, acknowledges the crime he was charged with, the drug habit that clouded his judgment and the debt he had to pay to society.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Home-rule application approved by council

    Fairmont City Council approved on Tuesday submitting the city’s home-rule application to the home-rule board.

    April 23, 2014

  • Tennant hopes to keep county commission seat

    Burley “Butch” Tennant is not a stranger to the Marion County Commission.
    As the current president of the county commission, he started serving the six-year term in 2008.

    April 23, 2014

  • Gee and McKinley at WVU Healthcare Forum-EG.jpg Access to health care challenge to state

    Access to health care, and technology to better facilitate that care, is a big challenge in the rural areas of West Virginia.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
TWV Video Highlights
NDN Editor's Picks
House Ads