2020 winter food distribution begins

Supporters help kick off the annual United Food Operation program for 2020.

United Food Operation (UFO) kicked off its 2020 winter food drive and distribution program on Friday. The food distribution will continue through March 28.

A nice turnout of supporters showed up to see this year’s program dedicated in the honor of some key folks, without whom the program would be so much less successful.

Fred Clark, owner of IVS Hydro, was recognized for his contribution to UFO by Elaine Harris.

The individual honored this year is very familiar to food charities around the Kanawha Valley. UFO Chair Elaine Harris said Fred Clark has been so important to the program since he’s been on the Board of Directors. She said Fred works tirelessly, not only to help raise funds for UFO, but he also helps out with other food drives around the community. Fred’s nickname is “The Potato Man” due to his purchase of truckloads of potatoes that he donates to food pantries.

Communications Workers of America, Local 2001, was recognized for its outstanding work on behalf of UFO. Local 2001 Secretary Treasurer Robin Young, center, and VP Susan Adkins, right, accepted the honor on behalf of the CWA Local 2001 membership..

The organization honored this year was Communications Workers of America, Local 2001. Harris recognized Local 2001 for their annual food drives, which they do for UFO. Harris said that in a couple of recent years, when UFO funds ran short at the end of the winter, Local 2001 has come through with loads of food and funds that they raise from their workplaces. It has been a real nice shot in the arm for UFO and the 12 food pantries it serves.

Marissa Skaff, Huntington National Bank WV Region assistant vice president, presents a donation from the bank to UFO Chair Elaine Harris. Chad Prather, president of the WV Region, Huntington National Bank, and Skaff are strong supporters of groups fighting hunger in our region.

An nice donation of $2,500 was received from Huntington National Bank. Two other significant donations of in-kind services were announced at the kick-off. MH Rents donated the use of a forklift vehicle for the food drive season and SGS Petroleum Services is sending a certified forklift operator over each Friday and Saturday mornings to assist with moving pallets of food around the warehouse.

Todd Gunter, field representative for U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, reads a message of support from the senator to United Food Operation..

Messages of support were read from United States Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin. Representatives from food pantries in Kanawha and Putnam counties, West Virginia State University, WV AFL-CIO, local businesses, and mayors from several cities served by UFO affiliated food pantries were on hand to show their support for the program.

As they have done many times before, WQBE-97.5 conducted a live remote from the event led by announcer Jeff Jeffries.

UFO regulars gather prior to the event.
Kick-off day 2020 was a warm one this year.
All the food along this wall was donated through Dutch Miller of Charleston.
Fred Clark is interviewed by a WOWK 13 News reported.

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