On a snow day, many children across southern West Virginia are jumping for joy because they get to stay home from school. But for children living in poverty, this seemingly exciting announcement may bring worry: where is my next meal going to come from?
Funded by a grant through The Kroger Company, we were able to implement a pilot feeding program aimed at feeding children on days during the school year when they’re not in school. This included mobilizing feeding teams during snow days, packing food boxes to distribute during winter break, and sending food home before three day weekends like MLK Jr. Day. Volunteers from the United Way, Fresh Fountain Family Worship Center in Ansted, Warm Hands from Warm Hearts in Oak Hill, and individual volunteers recruited from FayetteConnected.org worked together to get food in the hands of children who needed it.
The plan was developed through collaboration between the United Way of Southern West Virginia, Kroger, Fayette County Health Department, Warm Hands From Warm Hearts, representatives from Lovers Leap Baptist Church and Mount Hope Elementary. Over the course of snow days and winter break, we were able to feed over 2,000 meals to vulnerable children in Fayette County. The goal was to help answer the question of the innocent child who wakes up to a yard full of snow, and instead of being excited, feels a pit in their stomach because they know they won’t be eating.
We are so grateful for this investment of the Kroger Company in our region. Sometimes, The Unexpected Meal comes just at the right time.
-Christina Cowley, Community Impact Coordinator at United Way of Southern West Virginia