New regional food distribution center will bring jobs and provide meals to hundreds of families in WV

ROCK BRANCH, WV (WOAY) – On Tuesday, Gov. Justice visited a State warehouse facility in Rock Branch near Poca that is currently being established as a regional food distribution center as part of West Virginia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The facility allows multiple organizations to work together in a whole-of-government approach to assist West Virginians. The West Virginia National Guard has helped spearhead the new food distribution program out of the warehouse, which is managed by the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

“I went down there to see all the good work they’re doing,” Gov. Justice said. “It is truly amazing. I wish everyone could see the great work that’s going on, because these people are knocking it out of the park.”

The WVNG and DHSEM recently joined forces with several nonprofit organizations, including West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (WV VOAD), Mountaineer Food Bank, and Facing Hunger Food Bank to start the effort, which has already provided meals to hundreds of families across West Virginia.

The distribution center provides a full range of food supplies to local agencies, including dry goods as well as refrigerated and frozen foods.

Once fully operational, the Rock Branch center will support about eight new jobs and add 1 million pounds of food stocks to the Greater Kanawha Valley each year.

“It is, really, a fabulous facility,” Gov. Justice said. “If you could stand there with these young people and you could see their commitment, their professionalism, and how they attack their mission, it’s easy to see how in-command we’ve been through this whole process.”

Soldiers with the West Virginia National Guard provided a tour for the Governor as well, highlighting other operations they are undertaking in response to the pandemic.

“They’re revolutionizing ways they can make gowns or make masks and they showed me the mobile testing unit that they have there,” Gov. Justice said. “You see smart people, you see people that are craftsmen, you see people who are organized, and you see them knocking it out of the park.”

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Tyler Barker
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com