Matoaka Coalition partners with Mountaineer Food Bank for new food pantry initiative

MATOAKA, WV (WOAY) – The Matoaka Coalition has been working on cleaning up the community and has multiple projects in the works.

They’re most recent endeavor is a partnership with the Mountaineer Food Bank. And the process saw a lot of help from local organization Community Connections. 

“Community Connections has been a help to get this local community coalition started,” said Greg Puckett, executive director of Community Connections. “We helped to provide a little bit of seed funding to get residents an opportunity to engage in different ways. The Matoaka Community Coalition has absolutely just been amazing.”

This Tuesday they’ve begun a new food program called Feeding Families Prime. Twice a month families will be given the chance to take home packages of food and water. It takes place at the old Methodist Church on Mercer Avenue.

The owner of the building Sherry Sharpe was approached by the coalition about using it as the main location for the new program, and she was happy to help.

“When they closed the church, I couldn’t just see it go to rack and ruin,” Sharpe said. “And I wanted to do something that would help the community. In time, something would come up and they’d need the church for something. Then this came about and I was thrilled to be involved.”

The coalition considers this program to be a hand-up rather than a handout. They want participants to take part in brief education training about suicide awareness and how to appropriately use Narcan, something they say will greatly benefit the community.

Feeding Families is a volunteer-based program. For this first time, they had roughly a dozen volunteers turn out. 

“It’s just kind of unreal, you just couldn’t think it would happen. That this many people, absolute strangers to Matoaka, just came to help. They brought food, water, classes, everything you could want a group to work with.”

Anyone from the area interested in volunteering can contact the Matoaka Coalition for more information.

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