Where to find provisions if you’re experiencing food insecurity this winter

BUCKHANNON – Many people had hoped that as the calendar flipped from 2020 to 2021, daily living would go back to an easier time.

However, at least for January, it seems life could become more complicated – trying to keep up with student schedules as elementary and middle school students settle back into a five-day-a-week schedule, high school students watch for daily updates, and we all consider whether our work will continue and watch for news on the possible receipt of unemployment benefits, insurance and stimulus checks.

The silver lining is, residents of Upshur County have lots of occasions to help their families, friends and neighbors who may be facing food insecurities. And for people who are living with food insecurities, there are several opportunities to obtain needed nutritious food.

Beginning January 4, 2021, the Upshur Parish House, located at 68 College Ave. in Buckhannon will begin offering food pantry packages once a month. Director Kristi Wilkerson said before folks stop by to pick up the bundles, they should call ahead to make an appointment.

“Please call The Parish House at 304-472-0743 to make an appointment,” Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson said before the pandemic, the Parish House offered lunches three days a week, but said those meals are not possible now with the physical distancing requirements.

On Wednesday, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice ordered that all students in the Mountain State remain on remote learning until going back to in-person education Jan. 19, 2021. Upshur County Schools Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus told My Buckhannon that the school system will continue food distribution to students through January 15, 2021.

Stankus said she and school officials are working out the details about the food distribution including days, locations and time and they will send a press release which will post on the My Buckhannon website as well as the Upshur County Schools Facebook and Upshur County Schools app.

The Upshur County Mobile Food Pantry, hosted by the Mountaineer Food Bank will be distributing food boxes on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Event Center at Brush Fork parking lot. The center is located at 929 Brushy Fork Road in Buckhannon.

Also located in Buckhannon, the Salvation Army operates a food pantry, and they may be reached at 304-472-6165 when they reopen Jan. 4, 2021 if anyone is interested in learning about their food pantry guidelines or making an appointment.

Finally, Risë Straight Hanifan, Director of Christian Education at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, said the church will continue serving dinners each Wednesday in January 2021.

“During the winter months, we have moved the meals to 5 p.m. since folks are picking the meals up outside,” Hanifan said. “We serve meals from 5 to 6 p.m. or until we run out of food. Folks picking up meals will follow the line through the lower parking lot. It is clearly marked, and folks will need to wear a face covering to pick up their meals.”

Stay tuned, also, to Mountaineer Food Bank’s website, which may announce additional mobile food pantries in the area in the coming weeks and months.

If we’ve missed any organization or agency that regularly serves meal to members of the general public experiencing food insecurity, please contact My Buckhannon via email at news@mybuckhannon.com.

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