BUCKHANNON — The annual Letter Carriers’ Food Drive will be this Saturday, May 11. Every year the Buckhannon Post Office partners with the local Salvation Army to collect non-perishable food items for their pantry and the Parrish House’s food bank. All you have to do is place your donation in a bag by your mailbox prior to your regular mail delivery time and they will deliver it for you. Donations can also be dropped off at the Post Office.
The Buckhannon Service Unit of the Salvation Army services approximately 300 families per month. In addition to their extensive food pantry that includes meat and produce, the Salvation Army also has a thrift store and provides emergency utility assistance. Lead store clerk Dawna Mackey said, “Everything from the thrift store and donations that people and businesses make, it all stays here. Everything stays here in Upshur County that comes through our store.”
Once all the donations have been collected on Saturday, the team of postal workers and volunteers gather to divide it up between the Salvation Army and Parrish House food banks. Since this food drive only occurs once per year, the volume of items received is critical to their supply, so they are hopeful for good participation. Beyond the food drive, the generosity of many local businesses, individuals and churches, as well as the Mountaineer Food Bank and USDA make it all possible.
Salvation Army Service Unit Director Sharla Smith said their pantry currently needs breakfast items like cereal, juice and even kool-aid. With kids being out of school for summer break soon, there will be an increased need for child-friendly food items, so please donate if you are able.
Food Drive Coordinator Bob Winans also said Domino’s graciously donates pizza to feed the postal workers and volunteers who help with this annual community service activity and McDonald’s provides them with tea, which is very much appreciated.
The Salvation Army’s red kettle bell ringers at Christmas time are probably the organizations most iconic program, but they are also what funds many of things they do to help people year-round. The donations received are all kept locally and distributed to Upshur County folks in need of things like emergency food, housing and utility assistance. “We service Upshur County people. The money all stays here in Upshur,” said Brenda Allen, the pantry’s lead volunteer. The Salvation Army always need extra help with this venture, so it’s a great way to volunteer your time if you are looking for a way to contribute.
The Angel Tree program is yet another way the Salvation Army provides local assistance. Volunteers shop sales throughout the year to maximize the gifts they can provide, in addition to generous individuals who “adopt” an angel. Through the Angel Tree program, these children in need are given clothing and toys to help ensure they experience a joyful Christmas.
The numerous services and assistance provided by the Salvation Army are desperately needed and very much appreciated by their recipients. It is a very worthwhile organization, so please contribute any way that you possibly can.