The money came from the Mavis Grant and George Lilley Community Enhancement Fund, which YCF manages.
“These people are a private nonprofit, a bunch of volunteers doing such good stuff in our community that they need financial resources to keep the engine running,” Lilley said. “So we have, through YCF, Your Community Foundation, set up the opportunity for us to be able to give money to them because we value the work that they do.”
Lilley said he and his wife, Grant, have been volunteering at PPM since its inception so they have a first-hand account of the kind of work the organization does.
Roark Sizemore, PPM president, said receiving the money was of “absolutely huge” significance because it will be used to help kickstart the organization’s shoes and clothing program.
Unlike food, Sizemore said, clothes are not something that can be used once and be discarded, so there is a great need.
“They are things you can take pride in and it’s also something that you can’t hide,” Sizemore said. “You can hide being hungry from your friends, you can hide that you don’t have name brand stuff to your friends, but you can’t hide what’s on your body. And there are some real practical concerns that kids have too. When you don’t have gym shoes you cannot participate in gym and you’re getting marked down. And that’s really impacting kids’ real opportunity for success for no other reason than a simple thing like not having a pair of shoes.”
The money will allow PPM to go out and buy shoes in different sizes to stock and offer and make available for children in need.
As for how many shoes can be purchased, that will depend on what deals and selections are available. However, Sizemore said he is sure that it will be enough to help more than a handful of children.
“We’re hoping to be able to serve hundreds of kids with this amount of money and we hope to spread it as far as we can,” Sizemore said.
PPM’s president said more people are opening their eyes to some of the deficiencies in society, where folks slip through the gap for no good reason other than they’re down on their luck, or they weren’t born with the necessary financial resources.
The community is recognizing that it’s no fault of those people and especially not of their kids’ and he hopes more people will start to recognize that.
“I think that we should all be really cognizant of trying to create a community that supports our kids because they are the future,” Sizemore said. “And West Virginia needs a brighter future.”
Lilley said he too wishes to see more people becoming cognizant of the need in the community. He added that he understands not everyone has the chance to offer monetary contributions, but there are other ways to help.
“People who may not be able to give financially can volunteer time, sweat equity we call it, and make that contribution for others,” Lilley said. “By so doing, they get in return good feelings and they get to meet neat people and they get to expand their social network in the community.”
Pantry Plus More was also presented with a $3,000 check from the Louis and Mabel Tanner Community Fund. It was established in 2015 by Morgantown native, Lori Tanner, a CPA and investment-money manager living in Tucson, Arizona, in memory of her grandparents and to honor their legacy.