BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — The work at United Way of Southern West Virginia goes on all year, according to Trena Dacal, the executive director. The non-profit helps feed and clothe families throughout the southern part of the state, which is among the poorest in the nation.

Dacal said on Monday, November 13, 2023, that cold weather brings more need.

“We’ll see an increase in calls for utility assistance,” she said. “Because over the winter, Utility bills will increase, and it will make it difficult for families trying to stretch their budgets to pay those bills.”

When the October Price Index comes out on November 14, 2023, experts predict the cost of food will continue a modest month-by-month increase, making it harder for people to feed their families.

Dacal said the holiday season means additional financial and emotional stress for some families.
“Our 2-1-1 resource specialist has already received a multitude of calls from parents looking for resources for gifts for their children,” said Dacal, referring to the United Way help line. “It’s an incredible strain on parents for the holidays, because there’s an expectation, no matter what your budget it, that you want to provide for your children and give them a great holiday season.”
Beckley resident David Martin agreed with Dacal.

Martin, who said he drives his electric bike to work, told WVNS TV that he sees people around him in need and that he hopes the community pulls together to make the winter easier for them.

“They need to find a place to live, they need a place for transportation, and they can’t afford to get nothing for their family, nothing like that, you know, and that’s why I think they need to start helping people like that,” Martin said.

Dacal said donations are appreciated, and every donated dollar is allocated to agencies throughout southern West Virginia.