The Times West Virginian

February 13, 2013

Exceeding expectations

Community donations take Gift of Love food drive to record-setting level

By Misty Poe
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Pulling a little red Radio Flyer wagon behind him, Isaac Merriman was on a mission.

He knocked on the doors of Edgeway Drive and asked his grandmother’s neighbors to donate to the Times West Virginian’s Gift of Love food drive. “Nonperishables,” he reminded them, “no meats.”

The 5-year-old son of Roger and Maika Merriman brought in a pretty good haul during his own food drive. His grandmother, Sandra Vaughan, brought the goods Isaac collected during Tuesday’s special food drive event at the newspaper since the preschooler couldn’t make it.

Isaac was responsible for several grocery bags being added to the seven pallets of food already collected by the newspaper.

Seven pallets and more than $13,000 in donations, by the way.

On Tuesday, the Times West Virginian teamed up with Fantasia Broadcasting for a special live remote event to promote the annual food drive, which benefits 12 county pantries. Editor John Veasey greeted those who brought monetary donations and helped coordinate donations of food while Bill Dunn of 94.3 WRLF reported on the progress of the drive.

Times West Virginian publisher Chuck Jessup had a bird’s-eye view of the event. He was up on the roof of the newspaper’s

offices, vowing to not come down until the financial goals of the food drive had been met.

Of course, by the time Jessup climbed the ladder to the roof, the original $5,000 goal set in early January had already been exceeded. But he said he would stay on the roof until a new goal of $2,500 during the drive was met.

That new goal was exceeded by lunchtime.

Still, Jessup stood on the roof, holding signs that said “Get Me Down from Here,” “Need Coffee” and “Thank You.” Mid-afternoon, he was joined by Hal Phillips, the 11-year-old son of managing editor Misty Poe. By the time the two descended after 3 p.m., there was $13,672 collected to put a dent in hunger in Marion County.


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