The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Sunday Profile

November 20, 2011

Food For Body and Soul Food Pantry

Feeding those in need in keeping with spirit of God

Thanksgiving is a truly American holiday that brings generations of family members together to clasp hands around the dinner table and “’turn thanks” for food, family and faith. But during the holiday season we must remember that many families in southern West Virginia struggle just to keep their children fed at the end of the month, much less provide a holiday feast.

Food pantries are one of the most elementary community agencies, serving a very basic — but very essential — need.

Food for Body and Soul Food Pantry, a project run by Heart of God Ministries on South Kanawha Street in Beckley, has been sending food into the homes of Raleigh and Wyoming families since October 2005, said director Millie Cox.

Cox explained that in 2005, “Starting a food pantry was something God put in my spirit to do. I talked with our pastor and he told me we could try it.”

Since then the pantry has handed out food boxes at its location behind the church every third Saturday of the month from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are always their biggest — and hardest — times of the year, said Cox.

This Thanksgiving they are prepared to serve 125 families. Last year they served just over 100, she said.

The Thanksgiving parcel holds everything a family needs to have a proper meal, including a 10-pound turkey, stuffing mix, corn, green beans, rolls, gravy and apple sauce, she noted.

The pantry had its freezers packed full of 82 turkeys waiting to be taken home Nov. 12, and 43 more were expected to arrive later that morning.

During Christmas, the pantry provides a ham with the fixings for Christmas dinner, she said.

“Most of the people we serve are on a fixed income, homeless or who are working but are having a hard time making ends meet,” she said.

Ceretha Cline, vice president and treasurer of the pantry board, added, “The most memorable thing to me is serving the Manor House, a senior home. When we deliver their food, they are standing in line waiting. Many of them talk about having to choose between food or prescriptions. It is rewarding to know we are helping to tide them over until the first of the month. More than half our clients are seniors.”

Cline also pointed out that as foreclosures and down-sizing continue during the economic downturn, food pantries like this one are always needed.

“I do feel like it affects adults and children alike. If a child is hungry they can’t think clearly. If they can get their belly full with a nutritious meal, they will improve in all areas and do better in school,” Cline said.

Clients of the pantry must have identification, show proof of income and have a utility bill that verifies their residency.

Body and Soul Food Pantry has been funded through Heart of God Ministries, individual donations, United Way of Southern West Virginia, Walmart, FEMA, Beckley Area Foundation, other local agencies and they are hoping to get a grant from Food Lion later this year.

The pantry’s food storage gets low at the end of the year and they rely on local funds and donations. The group accepts unexpired canned food, mixes, flour, sugar, juice, milk, bread and more.

The pantry accepts food donations of all sorts. Please call church secretary Audre Brendon at 304-253-3944 to schedule a time to pick up or drop off a donation.

Monetary donations can be mailed to Food for Body and Soul, Heart of God Ministries, P.O. Box 3091, Beckley WV 25801.Thanksgiving is a truly American holiday that brings generations of family members together to clasp hands around the dinner table and “’turn thanks” for food, family and faith. But during the holiday season we must remember that many families in southern West Virginia struggle just to keep their children fed at the end of the month, much less provide a holiday feast.

Food pantries are one of the most elementary community agencies, serving a very basic — but very essential — need.

Food for Body and Soul Food Pantry, a project run by Heart of God Ministries on South Kanawha Street in Beckley, has been sending food into the homes of Raleigh and Wyoming families since October 2005, said director Millie Cox.

Cox explained that in 2005, “Starting a food pantry was something God put in my spirit to do. I talked with our pastor and he told me we could try it.”

Since then the pantry has handed out food boxes at its location behind the church every third Saturday of the month from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are always their biggest — and hardest — times of the year, said Cox.

This Thanksgiving they are prepared to serve 125 families. Last year they served just over 100, she said.

The Thanksgiving parcel holds everything a family needs to have a proper meal, including a 10-pound turkey, stuffing mix, corn, green beans, rolls, gravy and apple sauce, she noted.

The pantry had its freezers packed full of 82 turkeys waiting to be taken home Nov. 12, and 43 more were expected to arrive later that morning.

During Christmas, the pantry provides a ham with the fixings for Christmas dinner, she said.

“Most of the people we serve are on a fixed income, homeless or who are working but are having a hard time making ends meet,” she said.

Ceretha Cline, vice president and treasurer of the pantry board, added, “The most memorable thing to me is serving the Manor House, a senior home. When we deliver their food, they are standing in line waiting. Many of them talk about having to choose between food or prescriptions. It is rewarding to know we are helping to tide them over until the first of the month. More than half our clients are seniors.”

Cline also pointed out that as foreclosures and down-sizing continue during the economic downturn, food pantries like this one are always needed.

“I do feel like it affects adults and children alike. If a child is hungry they can’t think clearly. If they can get their belly full with a nutritious meal, they will improve in all areas and do better in school,” Cline said.

Clients of the pantry must have identification, show proof of income and have a utility bill that verifies their residency.

Body and Soul Food Pantry has been funded through Heart of God Ministries, individual donations, United Way of Southern West Virginia, Walmart, FEMA, Beckley Area Foundation, other local agencies and they are hoping to get a grant from Food Lion later this year.

The pantry’s food storage gets low at the end of the year and they rely on local funds and donations. The group accepts unexpired canned food, mixes, flour, sugar, juice, milk, bread and more.

The pantry accepts food donations of all sorts. Please call church secretary Audre Brendon at 304-253-3944 to schedule a time to pick up or drop off a donation.

Monetary donations can be mailed to Food for Body and Soul, Heart of God Ministries, P.O. Box 3091, Beckley WV 25801.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com

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