MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Mountaineer Food Bank (MFB) teamed up with Operation Welcome Home (OWH) to provide free food to veterans and their families.
The two-hour event was a part of the food bank’s ‘Veterans Table’ food distribution program, where they provide food to veterans. OWH works to help veterans reintegrate into society by helping them find employment; so the food distribution was right in their wheelhouse. While MFB brought 75 Veterans Table boxes filled with non-perishables, as well as fresh produce like potatoes, apples and cabbage.
Wilbur England, a veteran who spent four years in the Navy during the Vietnam war as an air crewman working of an aircraft carrier, stopped by the event to get food and said MFB has made a difference in a lot of people’s lives.
“It’s a great program,” England said. “There are a lot of people in West Virginia where somedays they do not have anything to eat. It’s good that OWH is getting involved with it, that gives a lot of veterans a contact to find out about it. I think it’ll work out really well.”
England said when he and other veterans came back from Vietnam they didn’t have programs like OWH and the Veterans Table to help them out, instead, they had to fight for these privileges that veterans of current and future wars enjoy.
He explained that he continues to fight to help veterans through his work at Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and with the Disabled Vet Assistance program, in fact, he was the one who told many veterans about the food distribution.
Laura Phillips, the Director of Community Programs for the MFB said that they would leave boxes with OWH to help distribute it to veterans who come by. Each box contains 20-25 non-perishable items that a veteran can receive regardless of their household income. OWH is their first brick and mortar location and Phillips said the plan is to restock them with boxes as time goes by.
“Veterans are very important to us,” Phillips said. “Our mission at the Veterans Table program is to ensure that no West Virginia veteran goes hungry so we are currently–it’s about three years in the making. We started by partnering with the three VA hospitals in our service area so Martinsburg, Beckley and Clarksburg but we want to increase access, that’s always the goal of all of our programming, to increase access.”
The food pantry is planning on opening a brick and mortar store in every county that they serve. However, for now veterans and their families can stop by OWH Monday – Friday when they’re open, in order to receive food.
OWH is located at 452 Mylan Park Lane in Morgantown, W.Va.