All posts by Charles Bockway

Letter Carriers food drive a big help

LCFD15Around the region, the annual Letter Carriers food drive on May 10 netted over 50,000 pounds of donated food that will be distributed to West Virginia food pantries.

At the main post office in Charleston dozens of United Food Operation, Inc. (UFO) volunteers turned out to unload food from postal trucks and move it to the waiting UFO tractor trailer. A rainy day did not dampen the spirits of the volunteers nor of the members of the National Association Letter Carriers (NALC) Local 531, as approximately 21,000 pounds of food donated by postal patrons was received and reloaded at this site.

LCFD 14

It takes a lot of volunteers to pull off a day like this and Charleston area organizations were very generous. Those offering volunteers included the Communication Workers of America,  Local 2001; American Federation of Teachers, Putnam County Local 4639; Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club, Charleston Chapter; National Association of Letter Carriers, Local 531; Charleston Professional Fire Fighters, IAFF Local 317;  Heart and Hand of South Charleston; International Association of Machinists, Local 656; International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 175; International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 132; United Food Operation, Inc.; WV AFL-CIO; and the WV Governor’s Office.

Governor proclaims Letter Carrier Food Drive Day in WV
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin proclaimed May 10, 2014 as Letter Carriers Food Drive day. in the photo, Governor’s Office representative Jason Williams presents a copy of the proclamation to Tim McKay, official of Letter Carriers Local 531.

With the day having been proclaimed by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin as Letter Carriers Food Drive Day,  the large haul of donated food will be spread among pantries around south central and western West Virginia. The 21,000 pounds of  food given to United Letter Carriers Food Drive 2014Food Operation will be shared with the 13 pantries it supports in Kanawha and Putnam counties. This food will be an immediate help to those in need in the Kanawha Valley.

** Click on the photos to view enlargements of our volunteers **

Letter Carriers Food Drive 2014
Buffalo Soldiers MC, Charleston WV Chapter
Letter Carriers Food Drive 2014
This great group came from AFT Putnam County.
Letter Carriers Food Drive 2014
The West Virginia Army National Guard picked up food from out lying postal centers and brought it to the downtown office.
Professional Fire Fighters from Charleston, WV.
Professional Fire Fighters from Charleston, WV. Charleston Fire Fighters are regular volunteers with UFO on Friday morning’s each winter.
Letter Carriers Food Drive 2014
(L to R) David Mullins of IUOE Local 132,, his wife Ekta, and Todd Mullins, president of the Kanawha Valley Labor Council.
Letter Carriers Food Drive 2014
Don Fraley of Teamsters Local 175 drove the tractor and trailer and made two trips back and forth between the post office and the UFO warehouse.
Letter Carriers Food Drive 2014
Members of Communication Workers of America can always be counted on.
This crew of United Food Operation regular volunteers stayed all day.
This crew of United Food Operation regular volunteers stayed all day.
Letter Carriers Food Drive 2014
NALC members and volunteers.
Letter Carriers Food Drive 2014
NALC members and volunteers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Details of the day

IMG_2952Postal delivery trucks arrive at the post office at the end of their day bringing back the donated food they have collected from postal patrons.

 

 

Letter Carriers Food Drive 2014The donated food is loaded into large dump bins by United Food Operation volunteers.

 

 

Letter Carriers Food Drive 2014Once these dump bins are filled they are moved over to the weighing area.

 

 

Letter Carriers Food Drive 2014

Each bin is placed on the scale and weighed.

 

 

Letter Carriers Food Drive 2014Full bins typically weigh in the area of 800-900 pounds.

 

 

 

Letter Carriers Food Drive 2014Bins are then loaded into the UFO trailer and hauled to the UFO warehouse in Institute.

 

 

Letter Carriers Food Drive 2014This tractor and trailer was provided, at no cost to United Food Operation, by Yellow Freight. This is the kind of contribution that allows UFO to put all the funds it raises toward buying food.  We thank Yellow Freight and all the others who made this successful day possible.

UFO will now distribute all the food donated from the Letter Carriers drive to its participating local food pantries . With the completion of this project, 2014 UFO distributions season will come to a close. Over the summer and fall months UFO will raise the funds needed to kick off its Winter 2015 program, which begins in January.

 

2014 Letter Carriers Food Drive

United Food Operation (UFO) will again be joining in partnership with the National Association of Letter Carriers for their annual food drive on Saturday, May 10.  UFO Chairperson Elaine Harris said the program is in need of volunteers that day.

Work unloading donated food will begin at 1:00 PM and end around 7:00 PM. Food and soft drinks will be provided for volunteers.  If you can help out for an hour or two or three on May 10, please contact Nancy Grist at ngrist@cwa-union.org or (304) 342-2023.

Work sites will be at the loading docks area of the  main Charleston Post Office on Washington Street and at the United Food Operation distribution center in Institute.

WQBE Radio honored

WQBE honored
Charleston radio station WQBE was honored Saturday by the United Food Operation for its support of food charity programs. Pictured from left to right are Al Woody and Jeff Jeffries, both of WQBE; Joseph Davenport and Elaine Harris, both of U.F.O.; and Rick Webb of WQBE.

For its contribution to fighting hunger in the Kanawha Valley,  Charleston radio station WQBE-FM was honored by United Food Operation on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014.

Elaine Harris, chair of U.F.O.,  presented a plaque to WQBE radio personalities Jeff Jeffries and Al Woody for their long term commitment to and support of the United Food Operation that puts food on the shelves of 13 food pantries in Kanawha and Putnam counties.

WQBE honorary plaque
This plaque was presented to WQBE by the United Food Operation on February 22, 2014.

Harris thanked Jeffries and Woody for all they do, and it is a lot. Jeffries and Woody routinely encourage public support for food charities in their regular broadcasts and, for the past three years, have provided a live remote broadcast for United Food Operation events. Their efforts have assisted U.F.O. in raising thousands of dollars used to purchase food that is then provided free-of-charge to 13 food pantries in Kanawha and Putnam counties of West Virginia.

WQBE is a community-spirited station owned and operated by Bristol Broadcasting Company, Inc. It broadcasts its country music format at 97.5 on the FM dial.

Mid-Winter Event Creates Enthusiasm

Over $6,000 in cash and food donations were received during United Food Operation’s (UFO)  mid-winter event held on Saturday morning, Feb. 22, at its Institute distribution center.

“This will fund another week of food distributions to local pantries,” an appreciative UFO Chair Elaine Harris said. She explained that donations have been somewhat lower over the past year and the program needed this mid-winter boost.

Charleston radio station WQBE provided a two-hour live remote broadcast from the event. This is the third year the station has donated a remote broadcast to help publicize the need for donations.

Todd Mullins, Kanawha Valley Labor Council
Todd Mullins of the Kanawha Valley Labor Council is interviewed by WQBE radio about his group’s participation in United Food Operation.

Standing out among Saturday’s contributions were donations from Communications Workers of America Local 2001, IVS Hydro, Kanawha Valley Labor Council, and employees at wvOASIS–WV Auditor’s Office.

Jennifer Namey wvOASIS
Jennifer Namey of wvOASIS drops off a station wagon full of donated food. wvOASIS is the project developing the new financial management system for state government.

UFO volunteer event manager Joseph Davenport  offered special thanks the everyone who participated.

“The day was a great success with area businesses, local unions, retirees, community organizations, volunteers, and a state government agency all participating,” he said.

The day  began as a usual Saturday with loading food into the food pantry vehicles. UFO supports 13 food pantries in Kanawha and  Putnam counties of West Virginia. Unlike some food banks, UFO gives its food to the pantries free-of-charge.

United Food Operation, Joe Davenport
UFO volunteer Joe Davenport moves a pallet of donated foods into the warehouse where it will be sorted for distribution to local food pantries.

United Food Operation distributions will continue this year each Saturday through April 12.  All donated funds received before that time will be used to add additional food to the amount distributed to each participating pantry.

Empty food pallets, United Food Operation
Empty pallets shown at the end of Saturday morning’s distribution to 13 food pantries. These pallets  will need to be restocked with more food before next Saturday.

 

United Food Operation readies for 2014 food distribution season

Winter weather has hit the Kanawha Valley with a vengeance, which means it surely must be time again for United Food Operation (UFO) to get down to business. Accordingly, the Charleston-based all-volunteer organization will kick off its 32nd annual food distribution program on January 24 and run it through April 12 this year.

Elaine Harris, who has served as the program chair since its inception in 1981, said UFO will work out of the same distribution center at the Bayer Crop Science facility in Institute that it has been using for several years.

Harris, in a Charleston Daily Mail interview, said times are especially tough this year.

“Donations are down,” she said. “Cupboards are bare. We need sponsors to help bring in food. It’s tax-deductible.”

Numerous area employers support the program but more are needed, Harris said. She explained that, unlike many other food banks, UFO does not charge the pantries for the food it provides them.

“They have enough issues finding the resources to keep operating,” she said. “We just want to help them get over the winter hump.”

Pantry leaders say they are hard pressed in the cold weather season to keep up with the increased demand for their services. Demand is higher in winter months for a number of reasons but the primary one is higher utility bills for heating leave less in the famlly budget for food.

At the Institute distribution center,  UFO volunteers will collect, receive, and sort food on Fridays and distribute it to pantries on Saturday mornings during the 10-week period. Thirteen food pantries in Putnam and Kanawha counties participate in the UFO program.

Participating food pantries for 2014 are:
Christian Community Cupboard in Hurricane; EnAct, Inc. in Chesapeake, Montgomery, and Clendenin; Covenant House of Charleston; Heart and Hand Community Service Center in South Charleston; Nitro Community Services; Pocatalico/Sissonville Community Food Pantry; St. Albans Community Food Pantry; Mountain Mission in Charleston; Salvation Army in Charleston; and Five Loaves/Two Fishes in Poca.

A teleconference call with UFO officers and volunteer leaders will be held Wednesday, January 15, 2014 8:00 AM to discuss plans for the UFO kick off and subsequent pantry distributions for this year.

For more information about how you might help or get involved as a volunteer, call Elaine Harris at 304-342-2023.

Letter Carriers Food Drive 2013

The National Association of Letter Carriers food drive will take place on May 11, 2013. It is an important effort in the fight against hunger in our area. United Food Operation will again assist the Letter Carriers by distributing the food they collect through 13 food pantries in Kanawha and Putnam counties.

This Youtube link shows last year’s food collection activity in Charleston, WV.
http://youtu.be/akoXUyUnsMQ

letter carriers food driveAround 50,000 pounds of food are collected each year in the Charleston region through this activity.

Led by letter carriers represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers (AFL-CIO), with the help of rural letter carriers, other postal employees and numerous other volunteers, nationally, the drive has resulted in delivery of more than one billion pounds of donations to community food banks and pantries over the past 20 years.

2013 food distribution begins

2013KO-3
United Food Operation, Inc. has begun its 31st annual food distribution program in Kanawha and Putnam counties. Pictured at the announcement, from left to right, are Drema Ward, of Five Loaves/Two Fish food pantry, Nitro; John Roberts, of Mountain Mission, Charleston; Elaine Harris, UFO chairperson.

United Food Operation (UFO) kicked off its 31st year of winter food distributions this morning. UFO will supply 13 independent food pantries in Kanawha and Putnam counties from January 4 through March 23.

“This year’s food distribution program is dedicated to the hard work of 13 local food pantries partnered with UFO,” said UFO Chairperson Elaine Harris. “Food pantries are the front line in fighting hunger in our communities, and that’s why UFO is dedicated to helping stock food pantries so they can continue to fight hunger in our region,” said Harris.

Harris said additional public support is needed this winter if the pantries are to be able to meet the need. People can volunteer their time or make a donation of food or funds to UFO or to a local food pantry.

“Increasing the number of workplaces participating in collections of money and food could really help our 13 local food pantries this winter,” said Harris.

Dupont and Dow commit support

The E.I. Dupont plant at Belle and the Dow facility at Institute Industrial Park have both committed support to United Food Operation’s (UFO) 2013 winter food distribution program.

E.I. Dupont Belle Works donates to United Food Operation
E.I. Dupont’s Pamela Valentine (2nd from right) presents a contribution to UFO chair Elaine Harris (center) to help the 2013 program.

Dupont employee Pamela Valentine, who also serves as secretary for United Food Operation, presented a check for $1,250 to the group at the 2013 campaign organization meeting on Nov. 29, 2012. Employees at the Dupont plant have been long-term supporters of the UFO effort.

Dow’s Institute facility will supply the truck and driver needed to pick up bulk pallets of food and deliver them to the distribution center each Thursday. This will be done weekly for the duration of the 2013 food distribution program.

The bulk pallets are broken down on Fridays by UFO volunteers and reorganized into pallets for each of the 13 participating food pantries. The pantries then pick up the food on Saturday  mornings.

UFO Chair Elaine Harris said the organization couldn’t be nearly as effective without the continuing support of workers and management at local facilities like Dupont and Dow.

“We thank them for all they do,” she said.