WVU, food pantry join in poultry project

PINEVILLE, W.Va. (AP) — Dozens of West Virginia families are benefiting from a partnership between West Virginia University Extension Service and a food pantry in the southern part of the state.

The partnership started a few years ago with an educational backyard garden project for clients of Society of St. Vincent de Paul food pantry outside Pineville in Wyoming County. That project continues to help around 100 families, but organizer Arnold Simonse wanted to do more.

He recruited WVU Extension Service Poultry Specialist Joe Moritz. WVU said in a news release that over the last two years, they have provided families with education, building plans and materials, proper feed and baby chicks to start small backyard poultry operations to more than 30 Wyoming County families.

Some of the families sell extra eggs to neighbors and local businesses or trade them for chicken feed. One of the original project participants, Lonnie McKinney, has grown his operation and provides more than a thousand eggs a month for the food pantry. He says the project has been good for him since he’s no longer able to work.

The project is entering its third year. New families will be added to the project, and existing participants will be able to expand or diversify their operations.

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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 ksimmons@woay.com.