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Kingwood Wal-Mart gets donations

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Throughout October, the 38 Wal-Mart stores in West Virginia collected 19,609 pounds of nonperishable food for Mountaineer Food Bank in Gassaway — 4,300 pounds of that came from just one store: Kingwood Wal-Mart.

Store manager Andy Conn said customers were asked during their checkouts if they'd like to add a food donation to their orders. He said customers always strongly support the store's charity drives for Mountaineer Food Bank, the local food bank Food For Preston, the Children's Miracle Network or Relay For Life.

"I think everybody either knows somebody or has been there themselves," Conn said.

Wal-Mart stores have donated almost 2.8 million pounds of food so far this year, said MFB resource coordinator Chad Morrison. Retail donors account for almost 4.5 million pounds of food each year.

"Mountaineer Food Bank completely relies on individual and corporate donations for our operations, which includes distributing food to food pantries and soup kitchens in 48 counties in West Virginia," he said. "We also distribute food through Backpack programs and our Mobile Pantry program." 

The Backpack program sends easy-to-consume foods home with hungry schoolchildren for them to eat on weekends.

Donations are steady, Morrison said, but he expects the need to increase.

"With the recent cuts in the SNAP budget, we anticipate more people relying on food pantries over the next year, which means more food is needed at MFB and more funds are needed to transport the food to the areas that need it," he said. "Food drives like these are an incredible way to engage the community and help bring in our most needed items like peanut butter, cereals, proteins like canned tuna and fruit cups."