WSAZ Hometown Heroes | Volunteers at Facing Hunger Foodbank

Volunteers have been packing food boxes and delivering them to families.
Published: Sep. 25, 2020 at 7:48 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - This year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, many more families have found themselves needing help putting food on the table for the very first time.

Workers at the Facing Hunger Foodbank say at the height of the pandemic, they saw a 50 percent increase in the amount of families they were serving.

"We needed all hands on deck and the community showed up with time, talent and treasure,” said Cyndi Kirkhart, the CEO of Facing Hunger Foodbank.

But Kirkhart admits, the continued work there couldn’t happen without the countless volunteers that step through the doors.

One of those volunteers is John Short. He has been giving his time freely at the foodbank since March.

Short says he started volunteering after seeing a Facebook post and encourages others to donate their time and efforts to help others.

“I felt the need,” Short said. “I said what can I do or how can I help? It’s the reward of helping others.”

Kirkhart says there are many others, like Short, who have pitched in to help.

“So many names, so many faces,” Kirkhart said. “I am overwhelmed with gratitude.”

Another group that has been helping out with the efforts behind the scene -- the West Virginia National Guard.

Sgt. First Class Jeffery Grose has been at the foodbank since April. He says he has done several state duties in his many years of service -- each one of them, just as important as the other.

“Any mission I have done in the past, I’ve always felt it was very important and always important to do the best quality of work that you can,” Grose said. “This is definitely a different environment. It’s a different type of need.”

During the past several months, the foodbank has participated in several distributions. One of their largest events, helped to feed 500 to 600 people.

“We all are very blessed in our lives and to know that so many people don’t have the same opportunity and voices, it is incumbent on us to speak and advocate for them,” Kirkhart said.

Though so much of their work happens in the walls of the foodbank, their reach goes far beyond that.

“There could be no greater gift than to know that we are providing to families and we take that challenge of hunger off the list of things they worry about,” Kirkhart said.

Their hours of work, dedication and compassion have made this group of volunteers this week’s WSAZ Hometown Heroes.

The foodbank services families in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. If you would like to make a donation or are interested in volunteering, click here.

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