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Newspapers, Veterans Association to gather donations

Veterans organizations from around the area are gathering at the Marietta Times parking lot Saturday for the Complete the Mission food drive.

Sponsored by the Mid-Ohio Valley Platoon Marine Corps Veterans Association and the Marietta Times, tents will be set up from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to gather dropped off donations to benefit the Gospel Mission Food Pantry.

Candy Waite of the food pantry said anything is a blessing to get.

“For August, we had 761 people that were helped and so far in September, we have helped 709 people,” she said Tuesday.

Along with non-perishable foods, they are also in need of personal hygiene items such as bars of soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes.

File photos Donations were dropped off to various veteran organization last year during the Complete the Mission food drive.

During last year’s food drive, more than seven truckloads of goods were donated to the pantry. Waite said that it lasted them “probably four months.”

Bernie Lyons, commanding officer of the Mid-Ohio Valley Platoon Marine Corps Veterans Association, said this is the second year for the food drive.

“It would be nice for people to come out, because there’s an awful lot of hungry people,” he said. “People can drive in and we’ll take the stuff out and keep everyone moving. With the resurgence in COVID, it’s probably the smart thing to do.”

“There are many local families in need. Therefore, we are once again committed to use the resources of our two newspapers to assist local veterans’ groups and the area food pantries,” said Jim Spanner, publisher. “The success we had with our previous joint events was phenomenal. The generosity displayed in our communities is second to none, and we are looking forward to expanding on that success this year.”

Any monetary donations are given directly to the food pantries to buy needed items.

Lyons said there was a “terrific amount of food” given to Gospel Mission last year.

“It was a good thing. The need went up when COVID got really bad,” he said.

Lyons said six veterans organizations participated last time, but he’d like to see them all participate.

“The more veterans organizations you have, the more people will come,” he said.

¯ ¯ ¯

A second food drive will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Parkersburg News and Sentinel parking lot, 519 Juliana St. in downtown Parkersburg.

The Chick Crites Annual Veterans Food Drive will benefit Old Man Rivers and Disabled American Veterans Wood County Chapter 32 food pantries.

“(Crites is) the one that got us going and he passed away and we thought it would be nice if he was remembered,” Lyons said.

He said Old Man Rivers was a chosen pantry because they do a “tremendous job.”

“They feed hundreds of people and they do outstanding work,” he said.

Nearly 500 households are fed every month through Old Man Rivers, a representative said. The pantry, located at 703 Pike St. in south Parkersburg, is open from noon to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Friday.

The DAV Chapter 32 food pantry, located at 938 Little Stillwell Road, Murphytown, is a little different, as it provides food only to veterans.

“We have 18 (veterans) that I know of,” said Commander Paul DeBerry. “We lost some out and from the sounds of it, we’ll be picking up four or five more.”

Their food pantry is open from noon to 2 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, or by appointment by calling Polly Shepherd at 304-428-4210.

DeBerry can also be called at 740-434-3381 if there is a food emergency.

“They call and say they need food and we get it to them,” he said.

Lyons said 50 percent of donations are given to Old Man Rivers and 50 percent is given to the DAV food pantry, with the same for monetary donations given during the food drive.

At last year’s drive, four veterans organizations participated, but Lyons said he’d like to see more.

“We invite the other service organizations to participate,” he said. “It’s one of those things … the more the merrier!”

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

If you go

¯ Who: Mid-Ohio Valley Platoon Marine Corps Veterans Association.

¯ What: Complete the Mission Food Drive.

¯ When: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

¯ Where: Marietta Times parking lot, 700 Channel Lane.

¯ Benefits: Gospel Mission Food Pantry.

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