(12/02/2010)
Money donations to Calhoun's Food Pantry have been slow this year, according to long-time manager Pete Trippett.

A fund-raising effort is currently being conducted by the Herald, an effort that will conclude this weekend.

Last year the effort raised $1500.

"The entire operation depends on community support, and we're very grateful to those who give us a boost," said Trippett.

"Community folks and church groups are generously donating food items," with the numbers the pantry serves increasing to about 300 families a month, an all-time high.

As the economy continues to falter and unemployment rolls increase, the face of hunger is changing. More and more people, including the working poor, are coming to the food pantry for help for the first time, Trippett said.

A recent survey released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that West Virginia has seen some of the greatest increase in food insecurity in the past three years.

A 2009 report on Household Food Insecurity in the United States reports the prevalence of food insecurity increased by a significant percentage in 30 states between 2007 and 2009.

The largest increase was observed in Florida and West Virginia.

The food shortage is mostly at the end of the month when everything runs short.

The USDA report indicates more families are skipping meals, cutting portion sizes, and not eating balanced meals.

Lisa McMorrow, director of the Scott's Run Settlement House near Morgantown, said "We are now seeing an increase in working families who just can make ends meet and are having to utilize food pantries."

The USDA report says 43 percent of households with incomes below the poverty line are food insecure.

McMorrow told state media that 42% of Monongalia County school children receive free and reduced lunch.

In Calhoun County, about 70% of school children are eligible for free or reduced lunch.

In West Virginia, more than 562,000 individuals live below the federal poverty level (more than 108,000 individuals over 650.

Calhoun's Community Food Pantry is operated by the First Baptist Church in Grantsville, and is supported by about 20 county churches and 20 county groups.

"We don't put a bunch of strings or requirements on who gets the food," Trippett said, who has been issuing items since 1992.

You can help the pantry, by making a check to First Baptist Church, be sure to note HERALD FOOD DRIVE on the check, and mail it to First Baptist Church, PO Box 237, Grantsville WV 26147.

For questions, to donate food items, or requests for food, call Pete Trippett at 304-354-7966.


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