WILLIAMSON – The House of Hope prepared 100 food baskets Tuesday, Dec. 1 to distribute to families throughout Mingo County to provide holiday meals to those in need.
Damian Williamson, who was affiliated with last year’s Operation Make a Difference toy and food drive, teamed up with Jeff and Della Polling from Parkersburg to prepare the meals on Tuesday.
Della Polling said the food was donated through individuals and churches. “It was mostly word of mouth,” she said.
The Polling’s became active in Mingo County after reading an article in a Parkersburg paper that discussed the numerous coal mines that have been idled throughout the Coalfields.
Williamson stressed the importance of donating to local food pantries. “Help your local food pantries out,” Williamson said. “A lot of them are closing down. Two or three have closed just in Mingo County. It puts a strain on the pantries, especially during the holidays,” Williamson continued.
The House of Hope is a non-profit organization. In a recent letter given to the Mingo County Commission it states that the main purpose of the organization is, “to provide food to the residents of Mingo County. We have been in operation since 2002. We serve approximately 280 families a month.”
The letter continues saying, “Our goal is to ‘Eliminate Hunger Through Collaboration,’ in our region. With the continued loss of jobs in the coal mines, we anticipate that many families will need assistance during the holiday season. We know that for the holidays our numbers will increase and we are anticipating serving at least 450 families. We want to provide a holiday meal for our families and be able to give them extra food for the month as well.”
The letter explains the amount of people fed last year saying, “In 2014, House of Hope along with our partners, have served 2,836 families and 6,998 individuals that includes 3,900 adults, 2,023 children and 1,075 elderly.”
House of Hope also provided a data sheet for 2014 that explains that almost 600 families were fed during Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year, the organization is expecting to feed between 450 and 500 families.
For more information about donating or volunteering at the pantry, contact June Jude at 304-235-1678. The House of Hope can also be contacted by their Facebook page.
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)