United Food Operation begins annual campaign in WV - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

United Food Operation begins annual campaign in WV

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About 30,000 Kanawha and Putnam county residents will benefit from the United Food Operation's annual food distribution program, which began today.

The all-volunteer program works to provide supplies to 13 independent food pantries that serve Kanawha and Putnam counties. This year's food distribution and funds drive will run through March 23. UFO chose these months for the campaign because the winter months see higher demand but fewer supplies.

"Food pantries are the front line in fighting hunger in our communities, and that's why UFO is dedicated to helping stock food pantries so they can continue to fight hunger in our region," said Elaine Harris, chairwoman of UFO.

Harris is expecting a tough winter and social agencies have told UFO that the need for their services has increased since last summer. Winter is a difficult time for families, especially seniors and those with low incomes or health problems.

"Winter heating bills, increasing food costs, layoffs, a slow economy — all these factors lead to increased pressure on local pantries," said Harris, a Communications Workers of America international representative and founder of UFO.

UFO uses donated facilities, equipment and volunteer labor to operate its programs with help from the region's businesses and industrial facilities, specifically the chemical, telecommunications and public utility sectors. However, layoffs in these sectors have affected donations to the program.

Those who want to participate in the program can call 304-342-2023. Contributions by check can be mailed to United Food Operations Inc. PO Box 20441, Charleston, WV 2562. Credit card contributions can be made through the program's website, unitedfoodoperation.org.