An all-volunteer non-profit group founded in June 1981, United Food Operation, Inc. (UFO) fights hunger in the Kanawha Valley. Operating as a qualified 501-c(3) charitable organization, all funds it raises go directly to purchase food that it supplies to 12 community food pantries out of donated warehouse space at Institute, WV.
Each year, from January to April, it helps support 12 independent food pantries in Kanawha and Putnam counties. The fact that it pays no salaries, rent, or utilities allows it to put more donated funds to use purchasing food. UFO provides all food to pantries free of charge.
UFO food distribution operates out of space donated by Dow Chemical Company at the Institute (WV) Industrial Park. Over the past decade BayerCropScience and its employees, including many who are affiliated with IAM Local 656, have been the most significant source of support to UFO’s annual food distribution program.
Annual support comes from employee and corporate donations at Frontier Communications, Dupont, Dow, Bayer, Charleston Fire Department, US Postal Service, Clearon, IVS Hydro, WV Water, various state government agencies, Kanawha Valley Building Trades Council, and WV AFL-CIO. The organization also annually seeks donations from the general public.
UFO is registered as a charitable organization and files an annual report with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office.
Mailing Address: Post Office Box 20441, Charleston, WV 25362
Office Telephone: 304-342-2023 (8:00 am – 4:00 pm, Monday–Friday)
The front line of defense
Local food pantries are a front line defense against hunger in our community. Each week they help many families fill the gap until that next paycheck, Social Security check or benefit payment. Especially in the cold weather season when heating bills are high, they help many of our neighbors stretch their budgets and make it through the month.
Food pantries are such a blessing, but unfortunately the need for food often outstrips their limited resources.
United Food Operation helps fill the shelves
Each year since the winter of 1982, United Food Operation (UFO) has supplemented the food resources of our local food pantries during the winter and early spring months, which is a time of greatest need. Through the years, the all-volunteer UFO has raised and distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars of food that has helped many tens of thousands of people in our community. The food is provided at no cost to the food pantries.
Established in June 1981 and maintained by workers at some of the region’s larger employers, especially those in the chemical and telecommunications industries, UFO is and always has been an all-volunteer organization that operates out of donated warehouse space. But through the years, as employment in those basic industries has shrunk, UFO now reaches out to the broader community to find additional support for its mission.