2015 Agency Comments

Without Empty Bowls funding we could not operate our breakfast program. With our breakfast program we have seen our breakfast guests (as we term them) become more comfortable in our building. Members of the congregation have become more comfortable with our guests, greeting them and even learning names. Breakfast guests and church members who might never cross paths otherwise, begin to interact through the breakfast program. This interaction persists outside our church building.

Chris McClelland
First Presbyterian Church, Morgantown Community Free Sunday Breakfast (aka Pancake Breakfast)

Presently, we have almost 30 infants that need special kinds of formula. We would not be able to provide this kind of assistance had we not been awarded an Empty Bowls grant last year. Also, our pantry manager has repeatedly stated that this new source of funding has freed her up to be more creative and proactive with making healthier food purchases and organizing meal planning for families. For example, we have substituted common staple items like pasta and rice with wholegrain options and we are now offering frozen meats rather than the sodiom-high canned meats.

Jenna Mosely Lohnes
Arnettsville Food Pantry

We have been able to provide more items for the children. There have been times that our donations have not met the needs, so we have been able to purchase items with this money. We have also been able to provide some fresh fruit. We hear from the Principal, the teachers, and the guidance counselor all the time about how this food has helped the children.Before the program the children were very hungry upon arrival on Monday mornings, they don’t seem as hungry and even make comments about the food they have received. We sent home a survey at the beginning of the school year to see what items parents felt were being used, things they didn’t like, things they needed, etc. In the survey we found that some families didn’t have can openers and weren’t able to open cans unless they were the ones with the tabs, so we purchased and distributed openers to these families. We also learned that one famiy didn’t own a microwave oven and many of the things sent home just needed to be heated in the microwave so we were able to donate an oven to them with a donation from the Avery United Methodist women.

We have received many thank you notes from the children and some parents about how thankful they are for the food. It is heartbreaking to read some of the notes from the children. They say things like “we don’t have money” or “my mom uses change to buy our food” or “I used to be hungry all weekend and now I’m not.” When you hear things like this, you know that you are doing something good for these kids. Our numbers keep growing each year and it is hard to imagine that there are that many people in our own community that are hungry. Our church has been able to keep up with the growing numbers thanks to Empty Bowls and the generosity of caring members donating food and money to this very worthwhile program. I hope you will consider our program again this year. We really appreciate anything that you can give us.

Debbie Simpson
Avery Church Snack Pack Program

We have been able to provide more items to enable clients to prepare more well rounded meals. Providing large bags of rice, dried beans, baking mix, “cooking soups” and broth clients can get away from just boxed or canned meals. It is also great to provide eggs and cheese when we find a good sale! We also have many people interested in cooking new dishes.

Ours is one of the smaller pantries run by a small member church. There are just three of us over 76 years who volunteer regularly! After food drives we do get family help to unpack and sort and stock the shelves. Many of our clients are regulars and since food stamps amounts have gone down really need us to get by. Our grant from you has been a realy blessing and without it we may not keep going so— Thank you!

Mary T. Gribko
Canyon Community Presbyterian Church Food Pantry

[Empty Bowls] Funds allow the pantry to remain more fully stocked for distribution to individuals/families seeking assistance. Caritas House facilitates outreach services to the homeless population including food products, MRE’s, prepared meals, and survival gear. Increasing funds for our food budget will enable us to purchase more meat, and fresh produce. Increased funding for food items will allow us to reallocate other funds for needed non-food items. At present, our pantry is stocked largely with canned and other non-perishable items.

Sharon Wood
Caritas House, Inc. Food Pantry

With Empty Bowls funding in the past, we have been able to educate and provide food items that meet special dietary requirements. We have heard success stories from our patrons where they have been able to lose weight, decrease blood pressure medication, decrease cost of diabetic supplies because they have controlled their sugar and learned how to eat on a gluten-free diet. These special dietary items tend to be more expensive so individuals have not even tried them in the past. With past funding, we have been able to provide these items and make a difference in our patron’s health.We have patrons that have stated they feel the wellness of their household had improved. Research studies show that the mortality rate of people who feel their wellness has improved is actually lower than those that doctor’s have made that determination.

Food assistance in general is a vital basic need. Too many families live with food insecurity. Many times, when individuals and families are struggling to make ends meet, health food items are the first thing they reduce or eliminate. They tend to go to cheaper processed foods, which in turn causes more health issues and an increase in usage of emergency medical services. 79% of people are purchasing cheaper, unhealthy foods in order to put food on the table and still meet the remainder of the needs of their family. 12 Million kids nationally rely on food pantries to address their hunger needs. Lack of healthy or enough food affects children and adults. Individuals in the situation can experience a lack of focus, energy and vitality which seriously affects performance at school, home life and work. We provide that food, especially the healthy alternatives, thus improving the nutritional well-being of our vulnerable neighbors in the short-term. We help eliminate one worry so an individual can focus on another area of their life. In addition, we provide education on how to manage and control chronic health conditions. We also honor the dignity of each individual by providing privacy and choices.

Kandi Shafer
Catholic Charities WV Central Region’s Monongalia County WellnessWorks Food Pantry

Because of this financial support, CH can consciously balance the cost of items against their nutritional value, to make the most of our resources and provide the greatest benefit to our clients. With your support, CH has provided well-balanced, satisfying meals to our families in need. In 2015, with your continued support and the generous donations of Panera Bread, we can ensure that every individual will have a nutritional sandwich anytime of day.

Due to an increase in the number of clients requesting food, and a decline in the amount of food donated each year, it is imperative that CH purchase more food to meet the increase in client requests for food each year. Financial contributions received through the Empty Bowls grant help to make it possible to keep the shelves filled, and hunger at bay.

Food insecurity is a real issue that faces many of our fiends, family and neighbors each and every day. As the economy continues to shift and change, gas prices go up and unemployment rates rise and fall, it is not always easy for families to meet all of their financial obligations with the resources available to them. Too often, they must make a choice between paying rent or buying groceries. Stretch and pull as they might, there simply is not enough money to make ends meet.

There are no limits to hunger. Regardless of appearance or gender, education or employment, hunger can befall anyone at any time. That is precisely why the Food Pantry program at CH is so important. Because we do not utilize commodities, we are able to serve anyone who comes to us in need. This may include the elderly, unemployed, underemployed and low-income individuals living under the federal poverty line. We see veterans living on a pension, and we see young adults barely over the age of 18 trying to make it on their own for the first time. It may be working families who are experiencing a financial crisis and need assistance until they get back on their feet. Our clients are varied in age, education and experience as they are in their personal circumstances. Only one thing remains the same among them; the basic human need for food.

Cheryl Callen
The Food Pantry at Christian Help (CH)

The extra monies keep our pantry stocked and allows us to buy the extras that the food bank does not supply. We provide p-nut butter, pastas, and sauce. Instant potatoes, eggs, butter, and on occasion sugar, and flour, cooking oil, tuna and salmon. We try to supply a meat each month and during the holidays turkey and ham for each family. If we can catch a sale on beef we will purchae 100 two pound beef roasts.Our store bill from Sav-a-lot averages out to near 2,000.00 a month.

Pearl Lewis
Clay Battle Area Family Service Food Pantry

Without the help from Empty Bowls, we could not provide the meat, cereal and other special
items. We receive mostly canned goods from the Food Bank. With rising prices it is almost impossible to try and give 115 families each a box of cereal, peanut butter, etc. I try and buy things when they are buy one, get one free this helps, although this week I pricedpork chops bogo, the first one was $l6.00, so would have to spend $8.00 to buy second one, that is still too expensive. It is very hard to buy food when everything is going up.

Marlene Tennant
Covenant Food Pantry

The generosity of Empty Bowls funding has allowed us the ability to purchase items that we typically do not see come in in the form of donations (perishable items). Bartlett House is very fortunate to receive donations of prepared foods from WVU Dining Services as well is the recipient of several food drive items throughout the year. Although these items assist us throughout the year in providing meals to our clients, on-going perishable items such as milk, cheeses, meats, eggs are difficult to collect through drives due to the perishable nature of the items as well as the significant quantities needed to supply the shelter. Empty Bowls funding has bridged countless funding gaps in providing these much needed items to homeless individuals and families.

Keri DeMasi
Bartlett House, Inc. (University Ave.)

The funds from Empty Bowls fill a gap between food donations and foods that need to be purchased. Fresh fruit and vegetables are served every day and the EB grant allows us to purchase these items. The number of lunches served each day has increased since the previous application and the population served includes families with small children and elderly, as well as indigent and homeless. We serve nutritionally balanced meals to all clients and it is even more important now that we are serving more children.

Karen Mercer
Morgantown Community Kitchen, Inc.

All of our clients pay some portion of the amount it takes to prepare the meal. The meals cost about $8.50 to prepare and clients are asked to pay $5.00 per meal. The Empty Bowls funding allows us to keep the price of the meals affordable. All of our clients are on a fixed income, and even with the fee being maintained at $5.00, about 25% cannot afford the full fee and pay between $0.50 and $4.50 for their meals. Each month we need about $1100.00 from our donors to cover the clients who cannot pay the full $5.00 fee. When we look at the actual cost per meal the subsidy needs to be much higher. For example: February 2015 – The actual cost that must be covered is $352 for weekend m eals and $5002 for weekday meals ($8.50/meal) or a total of $5354.00.
The Morgantown Community has supported the work of Morgantown Area Meals On Wheels since 1973. Currently, we have about 100 volunteers who serve as drivers, couriers, shoppers and kitchen/office help. The only paid workers are the cooks. All volunteers pay their own expenses for fuel, insurance and car maintenance.

Linda Justice
Morgantown Area Meals on Wheels

Past funding has enabled us to provide a more substantial amount of food per child. When the program was initially started approximately 15-20 children only received a couple pkts.of instant oatmeal, a bag of popcorn or pretzels and a couple energy bars. Thanks to Empty Bowls and other agencies we are now able to provide 60-70 children a can of pasta, a cup of noodles or can of soup, a drink box, popcorn, fruit cup, two breakfast foods as well as a couple energy bars.

We feel any support we can give to our community children nutritionally will help them do better in school. A hungry child cannot focus on tasks at hand. We appreciate your consideration of our application for assistance in maintaining this program and also we want to thank your group for all it does to feed the hungry here in Monongalia County.

Mary Ann Whetsell (deceased 2015)
Ridgedale Elementary School “Chargers-to-Go” Backpack food program

Without Empty Bowls funding the Rock Forge PC Food Pantry would close. Your funding is such a blessing helping us to serve our clients. Thank you and God bless all of you for your hard work in this effort.

Brenda Hails
Rock Forge Presbyterian Church Food Pantry

Our food pantry was getting very low on food last summer/fall and when the Empty Bowls check came in were able to purchase food to give to the families and individuals who came in for services.

In our hot meal feeding program, we were able to purchase items like milk and fresh vegetable to serve.

Lt. Trish Adkins
The Salvation Army

Our guests at Sarah’s Table vary in age, gender and circumstances. Some are homeless: families with young children and men and women with a variety of medical, social, housing and employment issues. Some guests have a place to live but need good, balanced meals and companionship. Empty Bowls allows us to serve them healthy meals in a safe, welcoming environment. With EB funding Sarah’s Table can remain a reliable support in their personal networks and to the Morgantown community at large.

Marjorie McCawley
Sarah’s Table

Empty Bowls funding has made a profound impact on our backpack feeding program. Because of the $5,000 we were awarded in 2014, Scott’s Run Settlement House was able to purchase food for 50 children enrolled in the backpack program for an entire school year. We have heard from numerous teachers, counselors, and principals that they have witnessed positive changes in the students who participate in the program. These improvements include increased participation, decreased fatigue, and better behavior. We have also received positive feedback from a survey given to the parents of children in the program. Several parents stated the backpacks help them make sure every child in their home has enough to eat over the weekend. We also received feedback from several single parents who stated they depend on our program to keep their child fed. Scott’s Run Settlement House is the largest backpack feeding program in Monongalia County. Because of the high volume of children we serve, support from Empty Bowls Monongalia is critical to the sustainability of our program. Community awareness, peer engagement, and healthier lifestyles are just some of the major impacts our program has made. We hope to receive your continued support for our mission of providing food to those who struggle in our community

Shay Niland
Backpack Feeding Program / Scott’s Run Settlement House

Last year in the Baby and Toddler Program, we had 247 families. Although not all the families are in need of formula, we were able to provide about 160 cans. These cans are supplemental to what WIC provides or, in the case of nursing moms, feeds if she is having medical problems or lactating issues. We keep our produce on a side table for the volunteers to get at easily. I often see someone come for a peek at what the produce will be. I have had people tell me they love getting the potatoes and if we have kids in, they are often interested in the apples.

As for formula, we have spent $1821.30 for different types that are suitable for the babies. Again, although it is supplemental, we have some babies who drink a lot of formula before WIC changes them to baby food at 6 months. Often the parents can’t keep up. Although Mom or Dad can use SNAP for formula, thre is sometimes a conflict. Do you go out and buy a can of $14.24 formual (or if your baby has digesttion problems, a can of Alimentum which WIC doesn’t provide anyway, at $29.98) or get the other kids food?

Suzanne R. Kenney
St. Ursula Food Pantry and Outreach

The funds from Empty Bowls allows us to provide a better selection of food choices for our receipients. Some items are not provided by the food bank, therefore, this extra funding allows us to purchase those items.

Jacqueline A. Dooley
The Rack

All funds that we have received from Empty Bowls have been such an unbelievable blessing to our pantry. Having funds to keep the pantry well stocked with many items to choose from, means that each family can choose what foods their individual families will consume and enjoy, according to their needs and preferences.

Our primary funding comes from our volunteers running our recycling program. We get paid for bales of clothing paper goods, etc. We are not assisted by any government or local government entities. We obtain commodities from the Mountaineer Food Bank and other foods are purchased locally using the income from our recycling. We have been doing this for years and it is very labor intensive but the need is here and our location is ideal for the most western end of the county. Unfortunately this far in the western end of Monongalia County is very underserved and so we work hard to continue assisting family with food needs.

Phyllis Bruce
Wadestown Food Pantry