By Misty Poe
Times West Virginian
On Feb. 10, 2013, the high temperature for the day was 54 degrees.
That was unseasonably warm, considering that the average “normal” temperature for Feb. 10 in Fairmont, W.Va., is 42 degrees.
The significance of that date is that Times West Virginian publisher Chuck Jessup vowed to climb on the roof of the newspaper building downtown until the financial goal of the Gift of Love food drive was met by the community.
Jessup will tell anyone who will listen that he had no idea that the temperature would be so high that day. Jessup says the day was planned so far in advance of the date he had no idea that it would be sunny and warm as he climbed the ladder to the roof of the building.
Jessup may not be as lucky this year.
On Tuesday, Feb. 11, the high temperature is supposed to be 47 degrees, according to AccuWeather. And it’s supposed to be overcast for the day.
But Jessup says that he’ll climb to the roof again for the second year in a row to help raise funds and awareness of the newspaper’s food drive, which benefits 11 food pantries in the county.
On Tuesday, Feb. 11, Jessup and the
staff of the Times West Virginian hope residents will bring financial donations to the newspaper’s office at 300 Quincy St. in downtown Fairmont.
There’s also another big difference between 2013 and 2014. In 2013, the goal was at $5,000 in donations to purchase food at cost to divvy between the pantries. We met that goal before Jessup even climbed onto the roof. In fact, when all was said and done, the community contributed more than $13,000 to the cause.
Because we know this community can and will do it, the 2014 goal was set at $13,000.
And with only a few checks so far and two pallets of food, Jessup may be on our roof for a good part of the day.
So our message to Marion County is this — don’t let Chuck stay stuck! The event is being held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“I’m in it to make sure we help these pantries stock their shelves for the rest of the winter,” Jessup said. “But it sure would be nice to be a little closer to goal before I go up on the roof.”
It should be an exciting day, as WRLF will do a live remote starting at 9 a.m. and come back at 1 p.m. to keep encouraging the community to come with donations of food and money.
Checks should be made out to “Gift of Love” and will be processed by Fairmont Federal Credit Union, a sponsor in the food drive. All money will be used to purchase nonperishable items at Save-A-Lot on Feb. 13.
In fact, Save-A-Lot stores in Marion County will give shoppers the chance to purchase items at the register to place in large collection boxes on their way out the door after shopping.
And on the day we all celebrate love, Feb. 14, representatives from 11 local pantries will come and pick up pallet after pallet of food.
The pantries that will benefit from the goods and funds collected are: Central United Methodist, the Soup Opera, Union Mission, Shepherd’s Love Food Pantry, Mannington Food Pantry, Our Father’s Breadbasket, Fairmont-Marion County Food Pantry, Salvation Army, Teverbaugh, Church of Christ Oakwood Road, and The Nest on the shared campus of Fairmont State and Pierpont.
Here are some of the ways you can help the 11 pantries that benefit from the Gift of Love food drive:
• 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 Misty Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @MistyPoeTWV.