Because the need for food never seems to lessen in our community, United Food Operation continues to collect monetary donations during the off year time before it does its annual wintertime food distributions to Kanawha–Putnam County-area food pantries. The 2022 food distribution program is expected to begin in early January 2022.
UFO supports 12 food pantries in the region each year from January to April — the months when the need for resources is highest. By providing extra food during the winter, more resources are freed to assist with other needs, especially for helping pay home heating bills (gas/electric).
If you can make a small or large donation to help with food security in the Kanawha Valley, please do so now. For more information, call Elaine Harris at 304-342-2023.
Donate by check: mail to United Food Operation, PO Box 20441, Charleston, WV 25362
We use the MightyCause donation service because of its ease of use and low cost. It is a great service. You can use MightyCause to securely make a donation to United Food Operation with your Visa, Mastercard, or American Express card.
Donate through United Way: You can designate United Food Operation to receive part or all of your annual United Way contribution. You must write in “United Food Operation Inc, Charleston WV” when you fill out your annual United Way campaign commitment form.
United Food Operation (UFO) will begin its 38th year of annual wintertime food distributions this Friday, January 10 at 11:00 a.m. The kickoff ceremony takes place at UFO food distribution center in Institute, WV.
UFO Chair Elaine Harris said that Friday’s program will honor one local individual and one local organization for their outstanding support of the organization’s mission through the years. The public is invited to attend the program, which runs for approximately one hour.
UFO annually raises funds with which it purchases food that is distributed free of charge to 12 independent food pantries in Kanawha and Putnam counties. UFO accepts both donations of money and non-perishable foods.
Founded in 1981, United Food Operation has been fighting hunger in the Kanawha Valley with support from working men and women in local industries and government agencies and from many corporations with local operations. Each year, the program distributes food to pantries for a 12-week period in the winter and early spring, which are times of heightened need.
UFO is a totally volunteer-run nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that operates out of donated warehouse space with donated equipment. Its extremely low overhead allows virtually all of the funds it raises to go to the purchase of food.
Donations can be mailed to:
United Food Operation P. O. Box 20441 Charleston, WV 25362
A look back at the 2019 Kickoff
Last year’s kickoff was highlighted with inspiring words from our keynote speaker United States Senator Joe Manchin. We were pleased to have a big turnout of representatives of local businesses and labor organizations.
Enjoy some photos from last year’s kickoff program.
Dutch Miller of Charleston recently collected non-perishable food as part of a dealership promotion and donated it to United Food Operation.
UFO Vice Chair Cliff Means estimated the total amount of food at 4,000 pounds. Means said this kind support from local businesses is critical to UFO’s mission. Thes food is now safely stored at the UFO warehouse and will be used in this winter’s food distributions.
UFO supports 12 independent food pantries in Kanawha and Putnam counties. Dutch Miller operates Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Subaru, and Kia auto dealerships in South Charleston and Charleston.
On May 11, 2019 the National Association of Letter Carriers (NACL) will be collecting food in the Kanawha Valley with their Stamp Out Hunger food drive. United Food Operation will again be partnering with the Letter Carriers to distribute the food they collect to 12 food pantries in Kanawha and Putnam counties.
On Saturday morning, April 7, United Food Operation completed its 12-week winter food distribution program. We will be gearing up again in May for the Letter Carriers “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive. Watch for it on Saturday, May 12.
United Food Operation completed its first weekend of food distributions for 2018 with a flurry of activity. Activities began Friday and concluded on Saturday.
Early Friday morning, food was sorted into pantry portions with help from a crew of volunteers from the Nitro Food Pantry. Earlier in the week the food was purchased and delivered to the warehouse so it could be sorted. Donated foods are also sorted. The first week’s foods included a large amount of cans and other non-perishable food from a collection conducted by Dutch Miller Auto of South Charleston.
UFO program kicked off Friday morning
Then at 10:00 a.m., Elaine Harris, UFO’s chairperson, and a group of guests and volunteers conducted the winter kick-off ceremony at the warehouse.
This season’s food distribution program was dedicated in honor of Clifford Means, a longtime UFO volunteer who also serves as the group’s vice chair. In recent years, Cliff has been employed as a machinist by Bayer CropScience, Institute Plant, which is closing out its operations at the Institute Industrial Park later this year.
Cliff’s honor was announced by Connie Stewart, a manager at Bayer CropScience. During her tenure, Stewart has also done much to assist the UFO program. Since Bayer began operating in Institute, the company has been a strong supporter of UFO. Along with Dow Chemical, Bayer was instrumental in helping UFO obtain the permanent facility it now uses as its headquarters and food distribution center.
Brian Aluise, of U.S. Senator Joe Manchin’s office, congratulated the group’s efforts on behalf of the Senator. He said UFO’s efforts were greatly appreciated.
Petroleum Services Corp. & MH Rents recognized
Chris Shinault and Andrew Ricks of SGS Petroleum Services Corp. were recognized for their company’s commitment to provide UFO with qualified fork lift operators for the distribution season. MH Equipment of Cross Lanes was thanked for donating the use of a nice forklift. MH Rents also donated the forklift last year.
Local media come out to cover event
Among those attending the ceremony were many United Food Operation volunteers and food pantry workers. Members of the news media were also there to cover the event.
Pantries pick up first bunches of food
On Saturday morning, pantry and UFO volunteers braved the cold, snowy conditions to load up pantry vehicles with donated foods. the 2018 food distribution program was officially underway.
The United Food Operation planning team met at IVS Hydro in Institute, WV, to start organizing the 2018 food drive and distribution program.
The dates for the 2018 campaign are:
Organization Summit with the Pantries: Wednesday, November 24, 2017 at 9:00 AM. Institute Industrial Park, Building 507 Room 202. Call the UFO office for more details: (304) 342-2023
Kickoff Celebration: Friday, January 12
Skip Week: March 30-31
Final Distribution and Thank-You Breakfast: Saturday, April 7
The team decided to host a Bid Away Hunger fundraising auction and party at Mardi Gras Casino again this year. The date will be announced later.
The planning team was encouraged by the over $36,000 already collected and in the bank for the 2018 food distribution program. The group hopes to add another $30,000 to that by the end of the year. Contacts are being made with area businesses who have supported the UFO food drives in the past.
Contributions to the 2018 food drive pay for food that is distributed to 12 food pantries in Kanawha and Putnam counties. As an all volunteer group operating out of donated warehouse space and using donated equipment, UFO uses all the funds donated by employees and businesses to purchase food, not overhead or salaries.
New members of the planning team this year were Misti Davis, Karen Snyder, and Carl Chadband. They all contributed welcomed new energy to the group.
The group heard a report about upgrades to the UFO distribution center. BayerCrop Science has completed painting the warehouse floor and it looks great. Dow Chemical has scheduled repairs and improvements to the rest room facility, which will be finished before the end of the year.
The next planning committee meeting is:
Oct 24, 2017 at 1:00 PM at IVS Hydro in Institute.
It’s late spring and the weather is getting nice. Spirits are up. Flowers are blooming. Plenty of outdoor activities draw your attention. It’s easy to forget that your local food pantry still needs your help.
That’s the beauty of the Stamp Out Hunger food drive conducted by the National Association of Letter Carriers and the United States Postal Service. It’s a poignant reminder at just the right time. This year’s food drive took place on May 13.
The need for food from our pantries has been pretty much at an all time high over the past winter months. The large-scale food resources that supply pantries are not really keeping up with the increased need we’ve seen.
The supply of food from large governmental food banks and national charitable organizations, while important, does not come close to meeting the true need of food pantries in our community. Local pantries depend on the generosity of the local community — of local folks who donate their dollars and canned goods all year around. Without the little people who bring over a few cans of tuna or few dollars they made at a bake sale, many local food pantries would close and many others would barely get by.
Letter Carriers give visibility to need for food
The Letter Carriers annual food drive brings home this point maybe better than any other large event. It communicates the need and says every little bit helps. Every little bit is important. The Letter Carriers reach out to all sectors of the community — urban, suburban and rural areas — to everyone who gets mail. No other food drive has this kind of reach.
And from the efforts of Letter Carriers and their allies, thousands of pounds of food are donated, collected, and then distributed to local food pantries where it is put to use serving the needy in our community. This donated food is a godsend, just ask anyone associated with one of our local food pantries.
UFO thanks our local Letter Carriers
United Food Operation want to sincerely thank members of Local 531 of the National Association of Letter Carriers for another great food drive. Letter Carrier R.D. Henson did a great job in his first year coordinating the program. Thanks also go out to all the other groups that cosponsored or otherwise helped out this wonderful effort.
The National Association of Letter Carriers food drive takes place in the Charleston region this Saturday, May 13. Please don’t forget to fill a bag with food and set it out near your mailbox on Saturday morning.
Arriving in mail boxes all around the region today and tomorrow are brown paper grocery bags designed to be filled with healthy,non-perishable foods and left by your mailbox Saturday morning. Your letter carrier will pick up the bag of food as he or she delivers your mail.
Mine Workers donate grocery bags
Again this year the United Mine Workers of America have donated thousands of brown paper grocery bags. That is a great help to the food drive because past experience has shown that more folks donate food when they have a special bag to put it in. The bags also serve as a reminder to not forget to do it.
United Food Operation manages foods distribution
All the donated food will be delivered back to the central post office by day’s end, where it is loaded into bins and then trucked to the United Food Operation warehouse in Institute. Over the next several days, the food is sorted and made ready for pick up by 12 local food pantries in Kanawha and Putnam counties.