Grants Enable Agency to Expand Food Assistance Programs

By Colleen Rowan/Courtesy of The Catholic Spirit

Catholic Charities West Virginia (CCWVa) has received grants from the Walmart Foundation totaling more than $118,000.

WellnessWorks Mobile Outreach
Catholic Charities West Virginia staff member Kim Jackson helps Michelle Nicholson with food selections during a WellnessWorks Mobile Food Pantry visit to Amma April 25. (Colleen Rowan Photo/Courtesy of The Catholic Spirit)

All of the funding will support the organization’s many healthy food initiatives around the state, said Patricia Phillips, Director of Development and Marketing for CCWVa.

“They’re all related to nutrition and healthy eating provided through our outreach services,” Phillips said. “Food is one of people’s most basic needs, and ensuring that those who are either on the verge of poverty or in poverty have food is an important part of our mission.”

Projects funded through the grants cover a wide range of health and  nutritional endeavors. Grant money will fund a temperature controlled, fresh food chamber at the Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center in Wheeling. Funding was received in March and work on the project is now underway.  Funding will also enhance the WellnessWorks Mobile Food Pantry in the Parkersburg Region. The mobile food pantry began four years ago and makes regular visits to the most remote areas of Calhoun, Doddridge, Ritchie, Roane and Wirt counties. It is an extension of CCWVa’s WellnessWorks Food Program, whose goal is to promote healthy eating and wellness among its clients. CCWVa’s SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Outreach, which offers guidance on eligibility and assists with applications, will also be funded in part by the grant money.

CCWVa was also included as a subgrantee of a state grant through the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley, receiving $300 a month for fresh produce purchases for the Neighborhood Center. The organization also received two store grants this year for outreach in New Martinsville and Elkins to improve healthy eating initiatives there.

“Providing healthy food in our food pantries, helping people get the benefits they are eligible to receive through SNAP Outreach, and bringing vital food assistance and nutritional guidance to food deserts in rural communities through mobile outreach is very important to providing comprehensive outreach services to the poor,” Phillips said. “This funding not only provides food for people, it also helps them learn about healthy eating.”

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