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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 2019 Winter Food Distribution Program will run each Saturday from January 12 to March 30, Elaine Harris, chair of United Food Operation (UFO), has announced. The season’s kickoff event will take place on Friday, Jan. 11.
United Food Operation will begin its next set of food distributions to area food pantries in January 2019. The exact dates of the 2019 program will be determined at the group’s annual organizational meeting on Friday, December 21.
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.