LOGAN — The holiday season is a time to be especially grateful for all the good things in life, such as the love of family, nourishing food, warm shelter and the good deeds of fellowmen.
But, while many will be enjoying the season, there are other families in southern West Virginia who will struggle through the holidays and throughout the year from the cruel results of poverty. For example, according to the No Kid Hungry organization, 21-perecnt of adolescents in West Virginia currently experience daily hunger, living in food insecure households. However, a local organization, Logan Mingo Area Mental Health (LMAMH), is expanding its efforts with its Buddy Pack Program to provide hundreds of nutritious meals for area children.
LMAMH Buddy Pack Program works in conjunction with the organization’s Intellectual Developmentally Disabled (ID/D) and the A.C.E.S. Customized Employment Program and provides weekend meals for select school-age children, distributed at various school locations in Logan and Mingo Counties. The goal is to provide nutritious meals to an ever growing number of students who are considered at-risk of going hungry during the weekend.
“Once we identify the need, we start working toward a solution. Each Buddy Pack is assembled weekly by our ID/D volunteers. It’s especially rewarding for us to know how they’ve embraced this special effort. Each backpack contains two nutritious meals (per day) to help sustain a child through the weekend—for Saturday and Sunday—with assorted juices, canned vegetables, fruits, and snacks for each day,” said Donna Cooke, CEO of LMAMH.
The local program continues and expands through the kindnesses and generosity of local sponsors — community-minded businesses, churches, and civic organizations — and through the monetary and food donations from individuals who want to lend a hand and make a difference in the lives families in the region. LMAMH Buddy Pack Program was first launched in Logan County and soon expanded its scope by offering meals to children in Mingo County, as well.
“During this Christmas season, we are especially thankful for our wonderful friends who have joined with us in making an impact locally through the Buddy Pack Program. Our goal is to increase the program’s outreach since the demand continues to grow,” Ms. Cooke said. “This program is a win-win opportunity as it adds a sense of accomplishment and purpose for our ID/D volunteers, while fighting hunger right here in our region.”
Individuals, organizations, schools, or businesses that wish to make donations, or volunteer time, resources and talent, to the Buddy Pack Campaign may do so by contacting Sandra Vance at 304-792-7130 (Ext. 1016), or Tammy Bowling at 304-310-2508 at LMAMH, P.O. Box 176, Logan, WV 25601. All donations are tax deductible.