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Drive Collects More Than 2,100 Cans Of Food

Reported by: Send eMail Stefano DiPietrantonio
Reported: Jun. 26, 2014 11:15 PM EDT
Updated: Jun. 26, 2014 11:29 PM EDT
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Count the cans
Eyewitness News Photo

Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia

If you've ever wondered, as you're enjoying a great meal, how many others in our region are going without, then you can understand why it’s so important to give back.

There's such a great need in West Virginia, and that's why Eyewitness News partnered with Dixon Hughes Goodman for the third annual Count the Cans: Community Collection Day.

We had an incredible, record-breaking third year, with more than 2,100 cans and more than $500 cash collected Thursday. Their slogan, “One can make a difference” is so true!

And even if you just had one can to spare, organizers said it will help put food on the tables of hungry people all over the region.

By box or by bag, it was the drive-through in Charleston, where you go to give instead of get.

"They put some food in my stomach, so I'm just trying to help return the favor you know," Vernon Arnold of St. Albans, who is glad to give back, said. "Mountaineer Food Bank, when I was down and out one time, they helped me out big time!"

"One out of six people in West Virginia will face hunger in 2014, and there's always a need," Brooke Lord with Dixon, Hughes Goodman, said. "You never know when you need to visit a food bank or when disaster strikes."

For example, two years ago, when the Derecho walloped the area, staple goods like mac n' cheese, peanut butter, fruit cups, cereal, sauces and tuna disappeared from food banks fast.

"Last year, we were able to distribute about 10 million pounds into the 48 counties that we serve in West Virginia," Dale Bollinger, with the Mountaineer Food Bank, said.
Bollinger estimates the need will go up by at least $1 million, over the next year, with more than 600 agencies, soup kitchens and food pantries, all feeding off the donations gathered here in Charleston. And the need is even greater over the summer months, with kids being off of school.

"We have a backpack program that we carry on throughout the school year, but through the summer, partnering with groups like this, and organizations, they're an extension of our hands to get this food into the hands of those children," Bollinger said.

Four Points by Sheraton, where we staged the drop-off, said it's important to get involved because it could be you needing food one day.

"We feel as though we have a commitment and a responsibility to give back to our neighbors and the community in which we operate in," Jamilah Clark, with Four Points by Sheraton, said.

Of course, you can always give to the Mountaineer Food Bank any time of the year. It's easy to forget there's a need, until a crisis demands it. Thanks to everyone who stopped by. You can always donate at the food bank offices in Gassaway.



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