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Food drives give community chance to help vets complete mission

I overheard the director of a nonprofit once talking about the idea that we don’t think enough about how many people are going hungry in our communities. Many of us can’t imagine what it is like to worry about whether we will have enough to eat or be able to feed our families. She tried to hammer it home by saying “Not everyone can afford that $200 or $300 biweekly trip to Walmart you’re probably taking …”

For that matter, not everyone can afford to budget $50 every week or two for groceries and necessities. And believe me, there are a LOT of people in our communities who are planning their shopping at that level. Still, there are some who must rely on food banks to supplement their grocery shopping, and they fly under the radar until a food drive or other similar event brings them to our attention.

That’s where we and some of our local veterans organizations come in. Today from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. the Mid-Ohio Valley Platoon Marine Corps Veterans Association is partnering with The Marietta Times in our parking lot at 700 Channel Lane, Marietta, to collect food donations to benefit the Gospel Mission Food Pantry.

Oct. 2 we will be doing the same from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Parkersburg News and Sentinel’s parking lot at 519 Juliana St., Parkersburg. On that day, the Chuck Crites Annual Veterans Food Drive will benefit Old Man Rivers and Disabled American Veterans Wood County Chapter 32 food pantries.

Bernie Lyons is commanding officer of the Mid-Ohio Valley Platoon Marine Corps Veterans Association, and he has been a tremendous partner in this project, particularly given how unusual the past year-and-a-half has been.

“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.”

We need non-perishable food items and personal hygiene items such as bars of soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes. If you’re going on that big biweekly grocery run this morning, throw a few extra items in the cart and drop by to see us in Marietta — or do the same next weekend in Parkersburg.

Unless you’ve experienced hunger and food insecurity, you have no idea what a blessing such an addition might be to someone else.

“For August, we had 761 people that were helped and so far in September, we have helped 709 people,” said Candy Waite of the Gospel Mission Food Pantry.

If those numbers raise your eyebrows, remember that is just one of several organizations that do the same work in our communities. The need is astounding and painfully real.

But you can help. Take a moment and spend just a little money (you’ll be surprised how fast you can fill up your cart without spending much). We look forward to seeing you!

Christina Myer may be reached at

cmyer@mariettatimes.com.

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