Education group, churches feed community amid pandemic

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Amid the panic surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, volunteers in Fayette County created a silver lining in their will to give to others.

Thursday evening at the Jones Avenue Church of God in Oak Hill, volunteers handed out over 200 meals. Since Monday, they handed out thousands.

“We love our kids and [during] that time we’re not going to see them, we want to make sure we could keep contact with them,” said Lauren Floyd, food coordinator for Coda Mountain Academy. “We really care about the community and wanted to make sure people have access to healthy hot meals.”

The Coda Mountain Academy took a break from teaching life skills to team up with nine local churches to make sure no one goes hungry.

“We are feeding anyone who comes in, providing them with meals,” said Pastor Charles Schmuck. “If you come in, we just ask you how many people are in your home. We don’t discriminate– children, adults– it doesn’t matter.”

On Thursday, Gospel Tabernacle served about 50 meals within their first half hour of serving. Other sites served even more.

Our location has given out about 350 meals at this point,” said Schmuck. “Throughout the whole process, as of last night, we were around 3000. I expect us to be at 4000 or more today.”

That means the group served 4000 meals since the volunteers started working on Monday. With many stores bearing shelves, all the food comes from the Coda Food Pantry and donations.

A common question is if the practice is sanitary– and organizers say they’ve taken all needed precautions. Volunteers are gloved and work tirelessly to not cross contaminate, and there is never more than 10 people in each group at once.

“I’m really encouraged,” said Floyd. “It shows us that West Virginia is really Best Virginia. People are really great at coming together in emergencies and we’re seeing all of that, so I’m excited.”

The group will continue handing out meals as long as necessary. They say they have no concerns about running out as they are well stocked. You can find out the locations and times for meal distribution here.

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Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at