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Support continues, challenges begin

It was great to hear today that Bayer CropScience Institute plant continues to commit its support for United Food Operation (UFO) even in the wake of its current operational downsizing and pending layoffs. Of course the reality is that this support cannot be what it once was, and those reductions will hurt.

In recent years the support from Bayer, its employees, and IAM Local 656 has been the cornerstone of UFO’s success. Without Bayer’s help, it is hard to imagine where the program would be today, even if it would exist.

The UFO family is saddened by the loss of a number of long-term UFO supporters as they will be departing from Bayer operations. The loss will be felt by UFO both in its fundraising and volunteer arms.

Those who have been around for more than a few years know that we have been through this before. Just think back to the downsizing and unit shut-downs at Union Carbide/Dow, FMC, Monsanto, and AT&T. Each of those hurt too.

The coming year will be a challenge that, hopefully, will bring out the best in our community and it’s employers as UFO seeks their help in feeding the hungry in our little corner of the world. Everyone knows the need for food is great—maybe about as high as it’s ever been here. Our participating food pantries report their shelves have a lot of gaps and that not all those in need can be adequately served.

As we thank our participating employers for their generous support, we know we must also gain new support from new employers and new individuals. It’s said that every time one door closes, another one opens. We must take this old saying and make it happen in the Kanawha Valley for the sake of those who need our service.

Yes, it will be a challenge, but it’s time to get working.