Feed America: Volunteers in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia Work Hard to Deliver with Meals on Wheels | WDVM25 and DCW50
SHEPHERDSTOWN, West Virginia (WDVM) – As we highlight hunger awareness in our area, we take a look at the fast-growing eastern enclave of West Virginia where community support plays an important role in delivering food to people. households that depend on a hand help from generous volunteers.
Dianne Waldron’s day begins at 7 a.m. in a kitchen in downtown Martinsburg, West Virginia, with dedicated volunteers who cook, prep, load and drive. She runs the Berkeley County Meals on Wheels program.
“The beneficiaries are confined to the house,” said Waldron. “They are isolated. They don’t have a lot of family support, and receiving this meal from a trusted volunteer driver is something they look forward to every day.
Beverly Hughes heads the Women Investing in Shepherd Foundation (WISH), housed at nearby Shepherd University. It involves 250 volunteers and supports a wide range of community not-for-profit organizations. Her family has volunteered at Meals on Wheels for 30 years, so they knew firsthand the positive impact it has on helping hungry people.
“I am very aware of the need and what they are doing for so many families and individuals,” said Hughes.
Linda Barnhart recently retired as Director of Manufacturing Sales and has had time to volunteer. She sees meals delivered to homes where it is the only meal they have that day.
“They may have to forgo buying groceries to pay their rent in order to have housing,” Barnhart said.
The WISH Foundation grant is particularly popular in Berkeley County, the fastest growing county in all of West Virginia. Getting those thousands of meals delivered every week wreaks havoc on ovens, a 70-year-old blender, pots and pans.
“We have doubled the number of people we delivered. This grant will go a long way in helping our kitchen staff so that we can continue our mission, ”said Waldron.
It is a mission that is making a significant difference in helping alleviate hunger in the region.
The Meals on Wheels program not only helps hungry people get food, but the volunteers who deliver may be the recipient’s only social interaction that day. The delivery also serves as a “good check” at home.